The Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team continues to exceed expectations in the early part of the season with a record of 4-1, despite losing to Middlebury College Wednesday.
Prior to the Cardinals’ first loss of the season, PSUC notched its first road win of the season last Friday defeating the Sage Colleges 4-1, thanks to a hat trick by senior midfielder Anissa Hartmann.
“You can count on the way she is going to play,” head coach Tania Armellino said about Hartmann. “She’s going to go hard, she’s going to go to goal, and I don’t think she ever lets us down in that notion.”
Over the first four games of the season, PSUC defense has only allowed three goals, outscoring their opponents 27-3.
“I’ve been really impressed with our defense and Nichole Gibson, our goalkeeper,” Armellino said. “That organization, with our goalkeeper and back line, has been some of the best yet that we’ve had, and I’m really impressed.”
The Cards defensive line is anchored by junior Brooke Knight, who was awarded SUNYAC Player of the Week for the period ending Sept. 6.
“I think she’s developing more and more as a player, so that’s been key for us,” Armellino said, who continues to credit the efforts of her defense in the early part of the season. “
Knight has not been a defender her whole three years playing for the Cards.
During her freshman year she started to make the transition from forward to defense, with her sophomore year being her first full season as a defender.
“I think it was a little bit easier for me to go from going from forward to defense because I have a forward mindset, so I know what they’re doing when they’re coming at me,” Knight said. “I’m still learning, but I’m definitely enjoying where I am. I feel at home.”
PSUC’s outlook on the season seems bright with the fast start that they have gotten off to, however, they cannot take these upcoming nonconference games lightly coming into SUNYAC play.
“When it comes to SUNYACs, there is no easy team,” Armellino said. “So if we can find the consistency, which I really believe we can, these outstanding nonconference opponents prepare us for that.”
The Cards have accumulated scoring from a lot of different players already this early on in the season, however, junior forward Sarah Haight leads the team with five goals prior to their game against Middlebury.
“We have such a deep offense. We have such a team that wants to score,” Haight said. “We’re goal hungry, we all are. We all work together, and it’s never a selfish thing because everyone’s working together to get that team win.”
Both Knight and Haight are two of seven juniors on the roster that have had the unique opportunity to enter the PSUC program at the same time as their head coach, which poses a great way of building a strong relationship between the player and coach.
“It’s cool how we were able to come in with her,” Haight said. “She came in with her set team morals of how she wanted the team to be about, and each year it shows more and more. It’s nice to have such a consistent presence.”
Knight added the importance of how her transition from offense to defense in in large part due to the belief and confidence that Armellino instills in her.
The Cards tomorrow against Skidmore College at 1 p.m. and St. Lawrence University Tuesday at 4 p.m., before kicking off SUNYAC play against Potsdam Sept. 24.
“We are always scouting and always learning about teams,” Armellino said. “The mentality piece is just open communication with the team, and I think that’s what can initiate a program shift in culture.”
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