Plattsburgh State men’s soccer has been decimated this season by injuries, and this past weekend was no different. The team went into the weekend facing a difficult task, competing against strong teams without senior midfielder Nate Economou and junior defenseman Clay Sherman in either game this weekend, and junior midfielder Nelson Vetter missed the first game against Cortland due to medical reasons.
In the first game against Cortland, the Cardinals had the winning goal taken away from them on a foul. This caused junior midfielder Ethan Voltraw to argue with the referee, earning him two yellow cards, which led to the team’s first red card of the season, leaving PSUC even more short-handed than before.
“We ended up losing in a heartbreak fashion, and in the same breath we are so decimated by injuries and to be able to come back with a win the next day is impressive,” head coach Chris Waterbury said.
In the team’s second game against Oswego, Vetter was able to play after being cleared by the PSUC medical staff.
“The Oswego game I think we played well as a team,” Vetter said. “Everyone worked hard both offensively and defensively to get the team where they need to be and get the win.”
The Cards pulled off a 2-0 win in the second game of the weekend. Goals were scored by junior Fabian Chaparro and freshman forward Jon Cabeca.
Chaparro said his new position helped him contribute more.
“I feel like in my new position, I get a lot more opportunities on net, have scoring opportunities, more impact on the game and on the scoreboard,” Chaparro said.
Chaparro switched from midfielder, where he has been playing all season, to striker where he is able to get more chances to score on goal.
Waterbury said the team is hurting right now and needed the wins this weekend.
“We are really down right now, but the optimist in me said a split wasn’t bad,” Waterbury said. “We went into the weekend saying we got to get two, so it’s all about how you look at it.”
This weekend, the team faces off against Oneonta and New Paltz in PSUC’s first home matches on the new turf field at the Fieldhouse.
One of the strengths that Waterbury has talked about all season has been the team’s defense.
Going into this weekend, with all the injuries and illness going around the team, he said he isn’t sure how the defense is going to look in the two matchups.
“I can’t even tell you who it is going to be, based upon who is going to be healthy to play,” Waterbury said. “We need to build from the back and move forward.”
One of the big problems for PSUC this season has been the absence of key players. Sherman had missed the last couple of games with injury, Voltraw missed the second game of the weekend because of the red card he got in game one, Vetter missed the first game because of sickness and Economou missed the last two games due to sickness.
The first matchup this weekend will be against New Paltz. Vetter said the team should expect to put up a physical battle and that it should be a hard-fought contest between the two teams.
Waterbury said the Cards will go into the weekend making sure not to underestimate any opponent.
New Paltz (3-7-1, 0-3-1 SUNYAC) has not won a game since Sept. 17. The leading scorer on the team is junior forward Jason Gonzales, who has four goals, two assists and 10 points.
The Hawks this year have used two different goalies in Steven Domino, who started eight games, and Andre Montoya, who started four games. The team has given up the second most goals in the conference with 21. The matchup should be a difficult one for PSUC even with the number of goals the Hawks allow because of all the injuries and the uncertainty of the Cards’ in the backfield.
Chaparro said New Paltz will be a battle.
“I think New Paltz is going to be a chippy game.” Chaparro said. “It’s going to be hard, and they are going to be running at us — a direct team.”
The second game of the weekend will be against Oneonta (9-0-2, 3-0-1 SUNYAC). PSUC will have to watch out for freshman forward Cory Santangelo, who scored one of the team’s two goals in its win over Geneseo.
Geneseo is fourth in the conference in shots with 191 and first in total goals scored this year. PSUC sits in fifth and sixth place respectively in those catergories, giving Geneseo the advantage in that aspect.
The two matchups this weekend will be pivotal for the Cards if they went to stay in contention for a higher seed in the SUNYAC tournament, which is key if they want a repeat as SUNYAC champions.
Email Nick Topping at email@example.com.