A difficult out-of-conference schedule has lead to some tough early games for the Plattsburgh State lacrosse team. Tough games often spell bad news for a young team such as this year’s squad.

In this case, tough did not mean unsuccessful. The Cardinals boast a 5-3 record and have been finding more success as the season progresses, winning five of their last six.

The Cards lost a large chunk of their team prior to this season due to graduation, so it was unclear whether current members of the team were going to step up and what newcomers would be able to offer. Both returners and new players have been contributing heavily, some more than anyone could have expected.

Brendan Damm is continuing the trend he has set his whole career at PSUC — absolutely dominating — and freshman Ryan Hubbard is putting in his fair share of goals as well. Head coach Ryan Cavanagh highlighted some players that have been going above and beyond on the field.

“Brendan Damm is playing really well,” Cavanagh said. “Ryan Hubbard has shaken off his first game jitters and has been tearing it up over spring break, putting in three goals against Connecticut College and six against Mount St. Mary’s.”

Aside from Damm and Hubbard, Cavanagh cited one player as probably their best player right now.

“James Read is a great distributer and a great player for us,” Cavanagh said. “As a senior, he has really taken a huge leadership role on the field getting guys where they need to be.”

A major question that arises in college sports year after year is who is going to step up and be a leader. Players constantly arriving and then graduating creates a system that can fail easily. If there are no older players to step into leadership roles, a team can crumble. Read said how important it is for older guys to step up.

“All the guys who have been here for three, four years with game experience are able to teach the young guys how the system works,” Read said. “The young guys need solid leadership so they can understand what we need to do here to win as a program.”

Leadership and teaching about winning is nothing if it isn’t being executed well, which, at PSUC this season, it is. The Cards are currently sitting atop the SUNYAC standings and are leading the conference in a copious amount of statistical categories, including goals, assists, points, shots on goal and man-up goals per game.

Assistant coach Brett McClelland explained how the chemistry between players is starting to grow, specifically at the attack position between Damm and Read.

“Both those guys working off of pick plays or just finding each other throughout the offense has really made our offense more explosive,” McClelland said.

The Cards have also been effective on the other side of the field, limiting opponents to 8.13 goals per game and saving 12.5 shots, which are third and second, respectively, in their conference. McClelland also said that the team’s six-on-six defense has been stellar in limiting other team’s opportunities.

There is always room for improvement and McClelland believes that can be achieved with an increased focus on the team’s transition game.

“At the beginning of the year we were so focused on six-on-six offense and defense we got away from our transition,” McClelland said. “We are looking to get back to running the ball and getting in transition and scoring some goals.”

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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