The Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team will be moving on to the SUNYAC Finals for the first time since 2010.
The Cardinals will face Geneseo after shutting out the Cortland Red Dragons in the semi-finals Wednesday.
PSUC got some offense from unlikely places. Sophomore defender Sarah Bonner headed in her first two goals on the season to open the scoring for the Cards, as well as score the insurance marker late in the second half.
“Most of the season she’s been playing left-back, and it’s only been the last few games that we’ve been moving her up,” head coach Tania Armellino said. “She’s been getting more and more used to it. Today, I loved it because she did all the things that make her great. She got in the air and attacked it and was unafraid.”
Senior midfielder Madeline Saccocio scored the other goal for PSUC, her 16th of the season.
Junior goalkeeper Nichole Gibson picked up her seventh shutout in the win, making some key stops in the early goings of the second half to keep the Cards up by one. She made seven saves on the game.
“She did incredibly to keep her composure, to not let the game get away from us,” Armellino said. “I was so impressed with Gibson and (senior defender Brooke) Knight, back there holding down the fort.”
Both Gibson and Bonner agreed that this game will stick in their minds for a while, praising each other with their responses.
“In my memory, this game will be one to remember forever,” Gibson said. “The fact that Bonner came moved up to left-mid and got two goals in a semi-final playoff game was outstanding.”
“She doesn’t let anything in the net unless it’s something crazy,” Bonner said. “Our second half was kind of crazy, but she kept everything out.”
As the game went on, the crowd grew audibly discontent with the refereeing, but Armellino wasn’t buying into it.
“I thought that the refs did a good job because there were a few times that we were on the ground, but it wasn’t a foul,” Armellino said. “I yelled to the girls a few times, ‘That’s not a foul, we have to be tougher with our bodies’. We were reaching, and their players were running through and winning the ball clean.”
Geneseo also won Wednesday, beating Oneonta and advancing to the finals against PSUC this Saturday. The game will take place in Geneseo.
The top-seeded Knights won the only match that the two teams played this season, taking the game 2-1 and outshooting PSUC 24-8.
Coach Armellino said that she wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.
“They got us here 2-1 when we played them in the regular season, so it’ll be exciting to get over there and really get involved from the first minute,” Armellino said. “When we played here it took us a while to get going, and we played a very defensive game. Once we got our momentum going, it was a little too late.”
Gibson shared her coach’s confidence heading into the final match.
“Doesn’t matter how far we travel, we’re bringing our game wherever we go,” Gibson said.
Email Ben Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org