Monday, December 11, 2023

Cardinals finish all-time best year

By Collin Bolebruch

Cardinals women’s lacrosse has been ripping pages out of its own record book this season. Week in and week out, Head Coach Kelly Wall and her players have been setting season- and career-best individual marks. Last week, despite being eliminated from the postseason, Plattsburgh’s program set its most impressive record yet. After a 10-8 win over the Fredonia Blue Devils April 22 and a 19-9 win over the Potsdam Bears April 26, the 2023 Cardinals own the mark for most wins in a single season with seven.

Since its 2019 inception, Plattsburgh’s women’s lacrosse program has completed just three full seasons due to the havoc COVID-19 wreaked on sports. The team played just 12 games between the 2020 and 2021 seasons, less than the 15 games it has played this season alone.

Wall joined the team’s inaugural season as an assistant coach and remained in the role through the 2020 season. She returned to Cardinal Country in 2022 to take the helm as head coach. Wall has now guided the Cardinals to its two best seasons, earning five wins in 2022 and seven in 2023. The March 25 win over the Buffalo State Bengals cemented Wall as the program’s all-time leader in wins by a coach.

“I haven’t had a ton of coaching experience. I’ve had like a year and a half and then I jumped into the head coaching role,” Wall said. “It feels good to be in the place I am because I feel like I’ve worked very hard for it.”

This season, midfielder Lindsay Guzzetta has firmly placed herself in the conversation for the team’s greatest player ever. Guzzetta joined the team in 2020, playing in just four games   before the season was shut down by COVID. Now, after four years with the team, Guzzetta ends her Plattsburgh career atop the all-time goals scored list with 82 and draw control list with 111.

“It’s a really good feeling and I’m happy I went out like that,” Guzzetta said. “I’m pleased with everything that I’ve done throughout the seasons here and I’m just proud of myself and proud of these girls.”

Guzzetta recently claimed more records. Against Potsdam, Guzzetta secured her 100th career point, retiring with 106 total. She also locked down the single-game points and assist records with 11 and six respectively She became the sole leader of the single-season goals title with 32 and points title with 41 after her five-point performance against Fredonia. 

In the same game, midfielder Emma McLaughin set the record for most caused turnovers in a season, ending the year with 36. Less than a month ago, McLaughlin also secured the single-season ground balls record, finishing this season with 52. McLaughlin was already the all-time leader, finishing her career with 108.

“They’ve been huge. They’ve made my decision extremely difficult each game,” Wall said. “They’ve played outstanding in the last couple of games.”

Plattsburgh’s two-goalie tandem of Lilla Nease and Johanna Malone took home a record each this season. Malone, who has been the team’s primary starter over the past two seasons, recorded the most wins in a single season by a goalie with four, just six games into the season. Nease had a strong performance against Oneonta April 19, saving 16 shots, a single-game record.

“This means a lot, especially playing for a new athletic program at Plattsburgh,” McLaughlin wrote in a text. “I’m so happy to have ended my career with a win with such amazing girls and I’m looking forward to future years of Plattsburgh women’s lacrosse.”

The 2023 Cardinals season will be remembered as another stepping stone in establishing Plattsburgh women’s lacrosse. At some point, this program will break another single-season win record. At some point, this program will make the SUNYAC playoffs. Before this team sees prolonged success, someone needs to set the marks to beat and the standards to reach.

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