After a successful start to the season in non-conference action, the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team wanted to begin SUNYAC play with a victory but knew it was not going to be easy.

The Cardinals (6-2-1, 1-0-0 SUNYAC) found themselves in the midst of a North Country battle Saturday playing against SUNY Potsdam, who had won its last seven games. PSUC made sure that streak didn’t reach eight and defeated the Bears 1-0 in double overtime.

PSUC midfielder Cait Gagen secured the overtime winner for the Cards to extend the team’s win streak to five games. The sophomore tallied her second goal of the season after Potsdam’s goalkeeper was unable to secure a loose ball, which bounced to Gagen who zipped the ball over the goal line from the right side of the net. She said it felt amazing to score the overtime winner since the team had worked so hard the entire match.

“I was so happy to get the win for our team because we deserved it, and it was a team effort,” Gagen said. “If it’s a 110-minute game or a 90-minute game, our work ethic doesn’t change. We might be exhausted, and our legs might not go, but we still work for one another and get the job done.”

PSUC head coach Tania Armellino said she knew playing Potsdam would be a challenge and acknowledged the Bears were a talented team, but she has said all season long that the Cards always battle and work hard until the final whistle, just as they did Saturday.

“Working to the end is what we do, and we talk about hard work constantly,” Armellino said. “I honestly can say this is the hardest-working team I have ever coached. They are relentless, and that’s what gets us to those very last moments and last finishes.”

Now that PSUC has entered SUNYAC play, Armellino stressed that the team knows it faces many challenges ahead. She said each conference opponent possesses talent, and the Card’s approach to each game will be crucial if they want to succeed.

“Every SUNYAC team wants to win the conference,” Armellino said. “It’s humble and hungry. You take every team seriously, you appreciate every team’s strengths, but you’re also hungry to play your game and get the win.”

Nine games into the season, PSUC has applied the mindset their coach stresses to them daily, and the squad has experienced success as a whole. The Cards are currently one of three undefeated teams in the SUNYAC and haven’t lost in six games. They have also outscored their opponents 19-10 and shut out the opposition in four contests.

Due to their early success, the Cards have generated confidence in themselves, which they believe can assist them as they continue to play SUNYAC opponents.

‘The SUNYAC is a very competitive conference, and I would say the momentum of winning our first SUNYAC game will continue in future games,” senior midfielder Mercedes Kendall said. “The momentum we have right now can carry us to the SUNYAC finals if we continue to win each game as it comes.”

The Cards will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to take on SUNY Cortland Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. and Oswego State Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., and the team feels comfortable playing away from home.

“Being on the road is definitely tough because you’re sleeping in a hotel and traveling on a bus for hours, but I think we are mentally there, and it’s definitely something we have gotten used to,” senior forward Devin McMahon said, who also stressed how she believes the Cards can succeed because of their skillsets and tremendous team chemistry.

“I have so much confidence in our team right now, and I think this year is the year we do really big things,” McMahon said. “I think what motivates us is how much we care for each other and how much we want it for each other.”

Email Joey LaFranca at joey.lafranca@cardinalpointsonline.com

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