Friday, September 29, 2023

Cardinals in fourth with three games left

The SUNY Plattsburgh women’s soccer team went 2-1 over the course of a week and now has two games remaining in its conference schedule.

The Cardinals boosted their conference standings from seventh place to a tournament qualifying fourth place with a win against SUNY Potsdam and Oswego State, increasing their conference record to 3-3-1. The team also lost to SUNY Cortland 1-0.

Plattsburgh State struggled to finish against Cortland after giving up a goal in the 15th minute of the first half. Finishing opportunities is what Armellino thinks is the Cards’ last step at being at its best for the postseason.

“The second half, we spent the entire half in their end, so it really came down to finishing and composure in the box,” Armellino said, “and I think that’s going to be our biggest focus this week.”

SUNY Plattsburgh took five shot attempts to Cortland’s one in the second half of the 1-0 loss.

The Cards then played Oswego State the following day on the road. It was another low scoring game that was determined in the first half. This time, sophomore forward Kirsten Villemaire scored the only goal in the fifth minute mark. It was her ninth goal of the season.

Three spots in the SUNYAC tournament have been clinched by Geneseo, Brockport and Cortland. Plattsburgh State remains in the close race for one of three remaining spots among five other teams. One win separates four of the top teams that haven’t secured a spot in the tournament.

Head coach Tania Armellino said it’s important for the Cards to hold onto the fourth seed for the home advantage in the first round, and the only guarantee to keep it is to win out the remaining two SUNYAC games against SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Oneonta.

The Cards will get their chance to secure the fourth seed at home.

“You never want it to come down to a last weekend; you want it to be secured earlier,” Armellino said, “but that first weekend away, we didn’t do what we should have against Fredonia and Buffalo State, so I think it’s great to be fighting that battle at home.”

Senior midfielder Rachel Moran said the team’s playoff position has been added motivation lately.

“Our mindset the whole time has been really to not lose but to really keep it in the back of our minds that we need to win or else this could be it for us,” Moran said.

Moran also said winning out isn’t added pressure, saying that the team had to pull off a similar situation last season when it started slow in the conference schedule.

“We’ve seen this before, and we know we can do it, and I think we have a lot of confidence,” she said. “We learned we can do it no matter what position we’re in, and we know we can beat any team even to teams we’ve lost to so far.”

While the team has been understaffed from injuries this season, Armellino said the expectation is for almost all players to be available in the team’s final three games of the season.

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