Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Winning streak not enough to advance

Drew Wemple

The SUNY Plattsburgh men’s Soccer team capped off their season Oct. 22, by beating Potsdam 2-0. ending the season on a five game win streak. However, the scenario the Cardinals needed to edge their way into the SUNYAC Championship tournament didn’t come to fruition and the team will miss the playoffs.

The Cardinals ended the season with a record of 8-7-1, which placed them seventh in the conference standings. Going into the final weekend of games they were tied in points in  standings with Oswego, yet the Lakers had a stronger record versus the teams ranked higher in the standings than the Cards. Earlier in the season when the two faced, it ended in a tie, had they beaten Oswego, they would’ve made it into the postseason tournament.

Their turbulent weekend started that Saturday when they took on the Bears at home. The night before, Geneseo was at Buffalo State, and the Cardinals needed that game to end in a tie in order to set up a win-and-in scenario for themselves the next day. However, in double-overtime Geneseo was able to score a goal to win the game 2-1. That meant Plattsburgh’s last chance to make the tournament was if Buffalo State and Brockport tied their matchup Saturday night.

But first Plattsburgh had to take on Potsdam. It was an afternoon game and, the Brockport-Buffalo St. game didn’t take place until that evening, so first the Cards would have to deal with the Bears. 

“We rallied together. Our seniors got the team together and said, ‘we don’t know what’s going to happen.’ We still have to wait for other results but we know that we have to give it 100% and end it [season] on a good note,” Sophomore Midfielder Jack Healy said. “Especially since it was senior day and we wanted to do it for them. So the team came together and we put out a pretty good win.”

It was a solid game on the pitch for the Cardinals, as they shut out the Bears 2-0. They were fueled by a first half goal from Jai Coker that broke a scoreless tie. Then again, Alex Graci put another one in the back of the net in the second half to help put the game away. Goalie Teddy Healy played a shutout game, saving six shots in the match. With that strong win, the team extended their win streak to five straight games. 

“We knew that if we dropped any more points we would be eliminated, so we had our backs against the wall,” Head Coach Chris Taylor said. “Any mistake would see the season be over, so that’s where it [win streak] came from.”

After they concluded with dispatching Potsdam, their fate was left to be decided in Brockport versus Buffalo State. The team was gathered together to watch their season’s future be decided.

“You could literally hear a pin drop, everyone was just glued to the TV. We’re all in the  same place watching it and it was just crazy,” Teddy Healy said. “All of us really wanted to get in because we had worked hard for it all season.”

However, Buffalo State scored a late goal in a 2-2 game, to put them up 3-2. The Cards needed a tie, and after the Bengals scored at the 78-minute mark, their season rested in those final 12 minutes. 

“It was emotional, but it was a roller coaster. It was just fun watching those games,” Jack Healy said. “But then at the end of the day, we’re just like, ‘alright, we’ve got to look forward. We had a great season. We had some great memories and some great times.”

That late goal from Buffalo State, ended the Cardinals up and down season. The team’s fate was decided and they weren’t the ones to decide it, at the end of the day.

“It was more like a shock. It was more like everyone was just looking at each other with their heads down like, ‘damn what are we gonna do now,’”Teddy Healy said. “You work so hard for all this just to come to an end like this was heartbreaking.”

For the seniors and graduate students, this was their last collegiate game. They had just celebrated senior day hours before. 

“I’m extremely close with the  seniors and I was devastated for them to be totally honest,” Taylor said. I can’t really put into words how badly I felt for them because they gave a lot to the program.” “They meant a lot to me and they meant a lot to the program.”

Going forward, however, a streak like this is certainly something to build on. Especially combined with the determination to not have a season end like this again, the Cardinals should be coming out fiery next season.

“It’s really important that the young guys and and all the retainers understand that missing the playoffs cannot and should not ever happen again,” Taylor said. “Because we just feel that we were one of the top teams in the league, but we didn’t prove that.” 

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