Allison Brown (left) and Catrina Maltes (right) hug Nora Fitzgerald (center) after her game-sealing goal to put away the Oneonta Wednesday, Oct. 18.
By Jayson Gaston
Every game has more meaning as the season winds down for the Plattsburgh Cardinals women’s soccer team. With a push for playoff seeding in the balance, the Cardinals took on the Buffalo State Bengals on Saturday, Oct. 14, when the Cardinals tied the Bengals 3-3. This was the second of two straight conference games on the road.
This ended up being the second tie in the past two games as the Cardinals also tied the Cortland Red Dragons 1-1 on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The Cardinals’ record now stands at 4-4-5 with a 2-1-4 conference record. The Bengals, with a 0-4-3 SUNYAC record, have now been eliminated from SUNYAC playoff contention.
The first half of the game saw the Cardinals with the advantage as it got 11 shots compared to the Bengals’ one. One of these shots resulted in the first goal of the game as junior forward Allison Brown scored for the Cardinals in the 25th minute. This lead was short-lived, however, as the Bengals capitalized on a penalty kick in the 31st minute.
With the game being tied 1-1 going into the second half, the Cardinals and the Bengals fought back and forth trading goals.
The Bengals struck first as in the 53rd minute it scored to put the team up 2-1.
The Bengals held the lead for 20 minutes until senior defender Zoe Rice tied up the game after taking the corner and knocking in an impressive goal in the 76th minute. This was the first goal of the season for Rice.
Soon after tying it up, the Cardinals took the lead in the 78th minute as junior midfielder Catrina Maltes scored on a goal assisted by senior forward Avery Durgan and Brown to put the Cardinals up 3-2.
The Cardinals’ lead did not last though as the Bengals tied the game 30 seconds later with a goal. Each team put up a shot on goal to close out the game but neither was able to capitalize as the game ended in a tie.
With the season winding down, Cardinals Head Coach Whitney Frary reflected on the team’s performance in the tie.
“I think sometimes it’s just how soccer works, focus-wise we have to go into every game like it is a postseason game, like it’s the last game we’re going to play,” Frary said. “It was good to have a game you fight for. We came back from being down 2-1 and were able to get up 3-2 and I think that’s always a great way to show we can battle back.
Brown, who contributed on many levels this game with a goal and an assist, was optimistic about the team’s performance.
“I feel like we never stopped pressing and pushing,” Brown said. “We didn’t come out with the outcome we wanted but it’s the mindset that matters.”
Rice, who had a season-high five shots versus the Bengals gave insight into how the team is feeling going into the end of the season.
“I wouldn’t say we’re nervous but this is a big one,” Rice said. “I think we’re ready but we just have to stay focused.”
The Cardinals beat the Oneonta Red Dragons 2-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 18. This marked a huge win for the Cardinals as it clinched its ninth-straight playoff berth in the SUNYAC tournament.
The Cardinals maintained control throughout the game. The team came out aggressive as Durgan scored in the 9th minute on a goal assisted by junior forward Ella Santomassimo. The goal gave Durgan a career high for points in a season with 13 total.
Ella Santomassimo (18) creates space against an Oneonta defender Oct. 18.
Plattsburgh maintained possession throughout the game, staying aggressive on offense and putting up a strong performance on defense. In the second half, the Red Dragons attempted to get back in the game, putting up two of their six-second half shots in the first two minutes of the half. The effort wouldn’t be enough. The Cardinals solidified its lead and secured the win with senior forward Nora Fitzgerald knocking in her team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 65th minute.
The Cardinals now look ahead to their final conference game of the season versus the Geneseo Knights on Saturday, Oct. 21. The Cardinals hope to keep their momentum going as a win against the Knights could secure them home field advantage in the SUNYAC tournament.