It was just another day at the office for the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team Saturday. For senior defender Jessica Mangieri, sit was like deja vu.

The Cardinals are now winners of eight in a row after knocking off fifth-seeded SUNY Oneonta in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs. Once again, the Cards were led to victory by another game-winning penalty kick by Mangieri in the 68th minute.

“She has great composure,” head coach Tania Armellino said about Mangieri. “In penalty kicks, no matter if you’re a professional, collegiate or youth player, it can get you. But she doesn’t get very nervous about it, so we felt confident in her and we’re glad she did too.”

All four of Mangieri’s goals this year could not have come at a better time for her team. Three out of the four panned out to be game-winners, and the other was a game-tying goal late in the second half against Brockport earlier in the season. It’s safe to say that the Cards may not be where they are right now without their senior defender. But for Mangieri, her only focus is what’s next on the schedule: Geneseo on the road in the SUNYAC semifinals.

“It’ll definitely be a change, but it’s is something that we easily can overcome,” Mangieri said about playing on the road Wednesday. “We just have to keep our minds on the game and not anything else, no matter if we play at home or anywhere else, it’s still the same game.”

After a relatively slow and stagnant first half against the Red Dragons, the Cards started the second half with a lot more momentum than the first.

“I think the first half was a bit of nerves controlling us,” Armellino said. “We were looking for the home run ball right away, which is what we talked a lot about at halftime – to find our game and connect with each other, rather than placating to Oneonta’s game style. ”

The Cards immediately created an opportunity right after halftime, which might have ignited the fire under them and put some added pressure on their opponents.

However, PSUC’s offense still had trouble finding the net in the second half, but its defense kept the Red Dragons off the board as well.

“It makes my day so much easier,” graduate goalkeeper Taylor Adams said about the defense in front of her. “We’ve been playing with that defensive group for almost half the season, so we all know each other’s tendencies which helps get rid of confusion that could lead to a score.”

Adams notched her eighth shutout of the season Saturday, and has tallied 107 saves, stopping 86 percent of the shots rifled her way. She has come a long way during her time at PSUC under Armellino, and would want nothing more than to finish her career celebrating a SUNYAC championship – but first, Adams and the Cards must get passed Geneseo in the semifinals.

The team that ended PSUC’s season in the SUNYAC final last year.

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<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/ezra-kachaturian/" rel="tag">Ezra Kachaturian</a>