There’s always next year, for some players anyway.
The Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team lost in the SUNYAC Finals in Geneseo last Saturday.
The Cardinals fell to the Knights 4-0 in the decisive match, but head coach Tania Armellino was still proud of her team’s performance.
“The true loss is if you don’t learn from it,” Armellino said. “We’ll be sure to take away some lessons from this.”
PSUC was outshot 11-5 in the first half leading to the Knights taking a 2-0 lead before the 45th minute was up.
“It was the first time all of us had ever played in a SUNYAC championship game, so nerves were definitely a factor,” said Madeline Saccocio, senior midfielder. “We played well as a unit, but sometimes things happen in the game of soccer. It was two talented teams playing each other, and one team had to come out on top in the end.”
The Cards had a stronger second half, but it still wasn’t enough. Audrey Reid put home the second penalty kick of the game for the Knights in the 63rd minute, and PSUC couldn’t recover.
“The penalty kick that made it 3-0 made it hard to come back, but we never stopped fighting and played until the very end,” said Caitlin Gagen, senior midfielder.
Gagen and Saccocio are part of a group of six seniors also including defender Brooke Knight, midfielder Lisa Bueche, forward Kelsey Gage and forward Sarah Haight.
Armellino said she’s grateful for the impact that her seniors had during their last season.
Both Gagen and Saccocio are walking away from their time with PSUC with good memories and lessons learned.
“I learned that at times things aren’t going to go your way, but you can’t give up,” Gagen said. “You have to keep working to get to your goal.”
Saccocio mentioned that she was happy to have been a part of the change in culture that Armellino mentioned.
“Being on the team brought me my closest friends,” Saccocio said. “All the experiences I’ve had with coaches have been great. Especially this last season I think there was a new dedication and pride in this program, so I walk away proud of being a part of that.”
Knight made the 2017 SUNYAC All-Tournament team along with junior goalkeeper Nichole Gibson and sophomore defender Sarah Bonner. Knight and Haight also earned First-Team All-SUNYAC Honors, Saccocio earned First-Team honors and SUNYAC offensive player of the year honors, Gibson earned Second-Team honors, and Gagen earned Third-Team honors.
Now the focus shifts to next year. For those who are returning, Saccocio had a message.
“I hope that the returning players take this defeat in stride,” Saccocio said. “It shows that we are capable of making it to the finals, but that it won’t come easy. I hope that there’s a continuation of the dedication that we saw grow this season.”
Armellino is confident that her team will take that sentiment to heart and use this experience to help them next year.
“For all of our team, it was the first time we had been to a championship game,” Armellino said. “Going forward, the returning players will know the drive that it takes to get there and how to perform when they get there, so I think that this experience will help us in the long run.”
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