The Plattsburgh State lacrosse team returns from its conference road match against Oneonta with a 7-6 victory Wednesday night, which was capped off with a last-second-goal to secure a win.
The Cardinals extended their lead early in the fourth period to make it 6-4. With less than 30 seconds left in the game, the Red Dragons manage to score two unanswered goals within 11 seconds of each other to tie the game at six with only 17 seconds left, leaving them to believe they had forced an overtime.
Not so fast.
That was until junior attackman Ryan Hubbard came through in the clutch for PSUC by scoring the game-winning goal with 1.3 seconds left in regulation to shock the opposing fans.
“We fought back and got a good look at the end and Hubbard stuck a great goal,” head coach Joe May said. “We also had good transition play by our defensive infield, which is something we were lacking in the beginning of the game.”
After the Red Dragons tied the game up, the Cards followed it up with a sequence that they go over in practice quite often.
To set up the game-winning goal by Hubbard, senior midfielder Kyle Espejo controlled a groundball after a face-off, who then flipped the ball to fellow midfielder Nicco Narbutos. Narbutos dished the ball last second after the Red Dragon defense shifted toward the midfielder, which left Hubbard open only nine yards out.
“He (Narbutos) did what we do every day in practice,” May said. “He drew his defender and hit an adjacent pass. He made a great pass to Hubbard’s stick, and Hub did what he did almost 100 times for us and put the ball in the back of the net.”
The game-winning goal for Hubbard was his 99th of his career, and his 30th this season.
For Hubbard, it is all about winning and having success as a team. PSUC improved its record to 7-4 with Wednesday’s victory and remain perfect in conference play so far (2-0).
“At this point in the season, conference play is the most important,” Hubbard said. “They’re the best wins. Whenever we win a conference game it always feels a bit better.”
In their two conference games this season, the Cards have only allowed nine goals (three against Oswego and six against Oneonta), and have been able to net a combined 21, outscoring their conference opponents by 12 goals.
“Defense is really important, especially in tight games,” Hubbard said. “Those guys are always grinding. They may not always get the recognition, but they work harder than a lot of guys.”
PSUC’s next game will be its final road game of the regular season, and the last of five-in-a-row away from home.
“The whole team is really coming together right now,” junior goalie Austin Graham said. “We just have to keep it rolling against the rest of the SUNYACs.”
The team squares off against Brockport on the road this weekend, the same team that ended PSUC’s season last year with an 11-10 victory in the SUNYAC tournament. The Cards played the Golden Eagles twice last year and lost both times by only one goal. This time around, PSUC will look to reverse the outcomes from last year.
“From here, we just have one game at a time,” Graham said. “We’re just trying to prove that we can be a team that can face adversity, yet still end up on top at the end of the game.”
The Cards play the Golden Eagles at 12 noon tomorrow, then will head home to finish their regular season in front of their home fans.
“It’s tough traveling and playing good teams on the road, you always want to be the home team, but it’s all about maintaining focus,” Graham said. “Now we just want to finish our road-trip with another win so we can get back to the home games.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at sports@cardinal pointsonline.com