Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cardinals Look ahead

Cynthia Barnosky weaves around two Blue Devils on March 30. 



By Justin Rushia

This season, the Plattsburgh State women’s lacrosse team fell short of the goal set six years ago when the program was founded: make the SUNYAC playoffs. 

“After being close in the past two seasons, it felt within reach,” Head Coach Kelly Wall said.

Plattsburgh completed its season with a total record of 4-11 and a conference record of 3-6.

“We set goals to beat teams that we’ve beaten in past years again,” senior defender/midfielder Janey Adams said. 

The Cardinals matched its conference record from the 2023 season by defeating the same teams as last year: Buffalo State, Fredonia and Potsdam.

Last season, Plattsburgh lost six seniors to graduation. This season, Plattsburgh had only three seniors and one graduate student. 

With the young squad, the Cardinals turned to its underclassmen in hopes of finding players who could fill the shoes of the departed seniors and make meaningful contributions to the team’s success.

Sophomore attacker Cynthia Barnosky found herself taking on the biggest role as she led the team in points with 51. The mark was the second highest in program history. The next highest total this season was 16.

“It was a mental game for sure,” Barnosky said. “It was a big adjustment to take the heat that you receive on the field.” 

Barnosky was ready to fill the shoes of her former teammates. After placing third on the team in total points in the 2023 season with 32, Barnosky led the way for Plattsburgh this season. She racked up 35 goals, scoring in all but two games, and also tied the Plattsburgh single-season assist record, finishing with 16.

Coming into college sports as an underclassman can be a difficult transition because of increased physicality and skill compared to the high school level. One thing the young Cardinals had to learn was how to play with confidence. 

“(At the beginning of the season) a lot of them would get the ball, freak out  and look to pass it away immediately,” Adams said. 

After a few games, the young Cardinals grew comfortable and realized they were recruited for a reason and could make more impactful plays, Adams said.

A big part of the increased confidence can be credited to the returning experienced players. 

“Having amazing upperclassmen has really helped because they created a welcoming environment for us and always helped us navigate being freshman athletes here,” first-year defender Sloane Carr said. 

The team’s love for the seniors led to a highlight of the season with a win on senior day. Plattsburgh celebrated its seniors by giving them a memorable graduation gift of an 11-10 win over SUNYAC competitor Fredonia. This win also snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Cardinals, which had not won since its first game of the season against Russell Sage. 

“After a tough start to the season, it was great to see them pull it together that day for the seniors and teammates,” Wall said. 

Even though Plattsburgh struggled to execute as it wanted to on the field, its team spirit and morality were never deterred. Throughout the season, the team stayed positive and had a good time together.

“No matter if we won or lost a game, we would celebrate the things that we did well together. There was never any pointing fingers, we just looked to the next game to make things better,” Barnosky said. 

The team chemistry has been a strong source of support for the team, and it will only improve with time.

“We are all friends off the field which helps us to be good teammates while we’re on the field,” Carr said. 

Geneseo and Brockport’s departure from the conference will give Plattsburgh more opportunities to make the playoff push it has been seeking for the last six seasons. 

Next season, the underclassmen will return with one more year of experience under their belts. The team will continue to hunt for a playoff appearance for the first time in the program’s existence.

 “We are going to try hard every single day and set a higher standard for practice going forward,” Wall said. 


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