With high expectations set for 2015, the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team started their season playing four games in nine days, and the Cardinals captured one victory and a draw.

The Cardinals (1-2-1, 0-0-0 SUNYAC) opened their season in New Hampshire defeating Keene State 5-2, receiving two goals from Cassidy Clavet and one from Sarah Haight, Madeline Saccocio and Cait Gagen, respectively.

Head coach Tania Armellino was pleased to get the first game and win out of the way early.

“That first game always carries a bit more,” Armellino said. “I think the team found themselves most proud of getting the win and also everything that got us there.”

Following the Keene State victory, PSUC dropped both North Country Classic games, losing to Saint Lawrence University 4-1 Saturday and Clarkson University 2-1 Sunday, but Armellino knew both teams were skilled opponents.

“Saint Lawrence is a really strong team, and they are in shape, physical, technical, and can handle the ball well at their feet,” Armellino said, who also noted she expected a hard-fought battle against Clarkson.

Cardinal forwards Sarah Haight and Anissa Hartmann each tallied one goal during the North Country Classic, and Madeline Saccocio secured the lone assist of the weekend off Haight’s goal.

PSUC midfielder Cassidy Clavet acknowledged the Cards’ disappointment after losing both weekend games but stressed it’s important that the team moves forward.

“We just need to take the positives with us and learn from the mistakes we have made and not forget that feeling of an unsatisfactory weekend away and pick our heads up,” Clavet said.

A factor the Cards will be constantly looking to concentrate on moving forward is possession, which the coaching staff and players consider crucial.

“Possession is key,” assistant coach Frantzy Noze said. “To win a soccer game you have to have the ball, so we do our best as soon as we lose the ball to regain it and keep possession.”

Following their two weekend losses, PSUC improved their possession rate in the team’s fourth game Wednesday and tied Union College 0-0 after a full 90 minutes and double overtime.

While the Cards have dealt with some inconsistency, they have tried to focus on the season’s positive aspects, and the team has received excellent goal keeping from freshman Nichole Gibson.

Gibson, who has been prepared in net, making 24 saves in the team’s first four games, is enjoying her first season at PSUC.

“All the girls are really nice, and we all have each other’s back,” Gibson said. “It’s only been three weeks, and I already feel so close with my defense. It feels like we have been playing together for years.”

The Cards will return to the pitch Saturday when they travel to visit Elmira College, and Clavet believes the team is ready to move forward and build on their last game.

“I think a nice win on the road would really boost our morale and keep us going,” Clavet said, ”We are all in this together, and I think as long as we just keep picking each other up, we will be okay.”

Email Joey LaFranca at joseph.lafranca@cardinalpointsonline.com

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