Saturday, January 16, 2021

Cards start season with big expectations

Heading into the 2017 season, the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team is looking to veer away from its status quo.

After finishing the regular season 10-8, the Cardinals were eliminated from the SUNYAC tournament in the semi-finals for the third year in a row, finishing the season with an 11-9 record.

Head Coach Tania Armellino is confident that these losses will only fuel her crop of seniors to push further this time around. “We’ve been to the semi-finals of the SUNYAC tournament three times in the last three years,” Armellino said.

“I know our seniors are extremely excited to make the championship game the goal.”

Among those seniors are midfielder Madeline Sacoccio and defender Brooke Knight, both of whom want to change the way things have gone in the past.

“Going to the semi-finals for the last three years and losing is definitely tough,” Saccocio said. “The returners especially don’t like that feeling, so, this season, more than ever, there’s a different sense of dedication and motivation.”

Knight agreed.

“I’d love to make it to the finals, and win,” Knight said. “As a senior, I know that we want this, and we definitely can do it.”

Saccocio and Knight are among a group of 19 returning players that Armellino will be looking to to lead the way, with only seven of the 26 player roster being new faces.

Ahead of the season, those faces got to familiarize themselves with their new teammates, a process that Saccocio says has gone well.

“The freshmen and new people are meshing very well,” Saccocio said. “There was really no transition period at all. They’re very compatible with how we play and who we are as people.”

Ahead of its season opener against Castleton last Friday, Armellino was confident in her team’s ability to start the season off with a bang.

“We just have to keep working on what we worked on all preseason, and let that be the focus,” Armellino said. “It’s just about coming out with the same work ethic and mentality. We’ve been structuring our defense to be tighter in our preseason games and scrimmages, and it’s gone really well.”

That tight defense seemed to be in full effect as PSUC shut out Castleton 2-0 before doing the same to Union College Tuesday, winning that game 3-0.

Saccocio was a standout during both games, scoring both goals in the 2-0 win before tallying the Cards’ third goal in their game against Union College.

Other Cards who have made the scoresheet in their two games included freshman forward Ernesta McIntosh, who picked up a goal and two assists and senior midfielder Cait Gagen who nabbed herself a goal and an assist. Senior forward Sarah Haight also picked up an assist in the game versus Union College.

Tuesday, it was announced that junior goalkeeper Nichole Gibson had earned the SUNYAC Defensive Athlete of the Week honors after recording a shutout in her first game, shortly before recording another.

Now that PSUC has started its season off on a positive note, the team will look to keep the ball rolling.

The Cards next play tonight in Plattsburgh at 7 p.m. where they will host RPI in a non-conference match.

Armellino made it clear that all signs seem to point to a strong performance out of this season’s team.

“In preseason, they came in fit and ready and have kept the tempo at an all-time high all through training, which is hard to do when you’re training two to three times a day,” Armellino said.

“The communication is at an all-time high, and they’re working as a unit harder than ever before. The returners have done a good job leading that charge for the freshmen.”

Email Ben Watson at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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