A hard-working and determined Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team will be taking the pitch this season looking to capture a SUNYAC championship, and the coaching staff and players feel ready.

“My excitement is through the roof,” second-year head coach Tania Armellino said. “I’ve been waiting since last season for the players to return to campus and bring our team together again.”

Last season, the Cardinals finished fifth in the SUNYAC standings and ended a three-year playoff drought, beating Oneonta in penalty kicks before losing to eventual conference champion Geneseo in the SUNYAC semifinals. The team made sure to absorb the playoff experience they gained to use as a building block for the 2015 campaign.

Armellino stressed gaining that playoff experience was important for the team’s confidence, and getting a taste of the playoffs has now made PSUC want more moving forward.

This year, the Cards feature 26 players, including 16 from last season’s roster, and a group of eight seniors who the coaches believe will be able to lead and vocalize the team’s expectations to the entire squad.

Similar to last season, the coaches are expressing the team’s formation as a key to achieving their aspirations. They want the players to keep the ball on the ground, play as a whole, spur the playing pace and always be ready to attack.

“We want to start the attack from the back and defend from the front,” Armellino said, “and if we can get both sides of the ball to be 11 people involved, we can play some great soccer.”

During practices, the Cards have been perfecting their formation and consider it a focal point.

“We have been practicing at a high intensity and working hard to learn the new formation and consistently improve,” senior captain Kelly Siry said, who believes the coaches support will keep PSUC motivated throughout the season.

Siry is part of a Cardinal defense that she believes possesses a strong bond, which includes the team’s keepers, Taylor Adams and Nicole Gibson.

“There’s a lot of trust within the backline, and we will keep working to make it the best possible,” senior defender Madeleine Rattray said. “And looking at the way Taylor and Nicole play, you would never guess they were first-year players.”

PSUC’s coaches believe captains Siry, Cassidy Clavet and Ashlie Guinness will be crucial to developing and maintaining team chemistry and feel it’s a team strength.

“The three captains we have this year have done a phenomenal job making sure there’s team chemistry on and off the pitch,” assistant coach Frantzy Noze said, who also noted how much time the team spends together.

Clavet also stressed that the team is communicating and working well together right now.

“I think we have the best team chemistry we have ever had in the four years I’ve been here,” senior midfielder Clavet said. “We picked up from where we left off during spring season.”

PSUC begins their season at Keene State followed by four additional road games before returning home to play Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Armellino said the Cardinals are excited to start the season and play in front of their home fans, and she trusts the team possesses the components needed to capture a championship.

“This team wants to be in the SUNYAC finals, and I believe in their ability to do that,” Armellino said. “We just have to take it game by game to get there.”

Email Joseph LaFranca at joseph.lafranca@cardinalpointsonline.com

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