Playing with heart is an aspect of sports that cannot simply be taught to athletes. For the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team it seems to come as second nature.
The Cardinals’ (6-3-1, 2-0-1 SUNYAC) weekend was occupied by SUNYAC opposition, as they battled hard against Cortland (3-6-1, 2-1-1 SUNYAC) on Friday and Oswego (5-4-2, 2-0-2 SUNYAC) on Saturday. PSUC had no trouble with the Red Dragons and rolled to a 3-0 victory. Cassidy Clavet continued to prove herself as an offensive threat, earning her third goal of the season. Clavet previously scored in the Cards’ opening SUNYAC match against Potsdam Sept. 28.
Freshman Lindsey Bushey upped her conference-leading goal total to nine, and Devin McMahon scored the final goal for PSUC, her first this season.
On Saturday, the Cards fought back against a tough Oswego team after trailing 2-0 late into the game. Head coach Tania Armellino told her squad to remain calm and the goals would come.
“When you are down 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining, it is pretty nuts,” Armellino said. “My biggest thing was keeping them calm and positive because that’s the only way we were going to find the back of the net.”
Sure enough, that is exactly what PSUC did. In the 85th minute, freshman Brooke Knight knocked a goal in, making it a 2-1 game with just five minutes remaining.
Cards’ defender Mercedes Kendall sai she believed in her team and recognized that they were not going to give up, not even late in the game.
“We didn’t give up even though we were down, and we fought through and came back,” Kendall said. “Heart was the biggest difference-maker in that comeback.”
Just two minutes after the first goal, PSUC struck again. This time it was sophomore forward Anissa Hartmann. Hartmann evened up the play at 2-2, and the teams would finish up OT scoreless and head into penalty kicks.
“When Anissa scored the game equalizer, I think that the bench, the fans and all of us pretty much erupted because, to me, that was showing the heart and resolve of this team,” Armellino said.
Goalkeeper Danielle Schmitt performed well for the Cards during the penalty shootout and impressively saved three consecutive shots. Prior to this, Schmitt had only played in one shootout in her career.
“I saved one on my last shootout, but there is nothing compared to saving three,” Schmitt said.
“I guessed the right way three times and just got lucky. It was probably one of the best feelings.”
Schmitt’s performance for PSUC over the weekend earned her the SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Although the Cards won the shootout, the game will still be considered a tie. If necessary for SUNYAC playoffs, the shootout win would come into play if Oswego and PSUC shared the same record.
SUNYAC play will continue for the Cards when they take their talents to New Paltz on Friday.
The Hawks (6-5-2, 0-2-2 SUNYAC) currently sit in second-to-last place in the conference and have not earned a SUNYAC win yet. The team still should not be taken lightly because they do have a potent offense, currently sharing the SUNYAC lead with the Cards in goals scored with 25. Both teams can score goals in bunches, so expect a potentially high-scoring contest.
On the other end of the spectrum is PSUC’s second matchup of the weekend against Oneonta (3-6-2, 1-1-1 SUNYAC). The Red Dragons have not proved to be much of a scoring team thus far, sitting at the bottom of the conference for goals scored with nine. The Cards have the advantage in the matchup with their SUNYAC leading goal total.
Kendall believes that regardless of a team’s record or statistics, they must not take either team lightly.
“We have to go into it like it is the championship game and prove ourselves,” Kendall said. “We want that No. 1 spot, and in order to get that we have to work hard.”
Email Alex Reynolds at email@example.com.