By Collin Bolebruch
Plattsburgh Cardinals lacrosse walks away from this past week 0-3. The women’s team was officially eliminated from playoff contention and the men’s team faces an important three-game stretch to steal a playoff berth. Though they may not be where they want to be in the standings, both teams are focusing on the positives of the season.
Last week, the women’s lacrosse team (5-8, SUNYAC 1-6) fell to the Oswego Lakers (11-3, SUNYAC 6-1), a top-three team in the conference, by a score of 6-17. This past Wednesday, the Cardinals lost to the Oneonta Red Dragons (5-8, SUNYAC 4-3) in overtime, 11-12, in what might have been its best-played game all season.
Plattsburgh held the upper hand at the end of the second and third quarters and had a lead by as many as six goals. Midfielder Lindsay Guzzetta and attacker Cynthia Barnosky tied career-highs with five points each. Guzzetta and Barnosky traded points in Plattsburgh’s most important quarter, when it scored seven goals in the second, holding Oneonta to one.
“This shows we can do it. If we stay together, work together the entire time, we can do it,” Barnosky said. “We’re underdogs, people look at us, but we got it.”
The young program continues to make history. Guzzetta, who broke the program’s career goal and draw controls records earlier this season, tied the single-season goal mark at 28, a record that has stood for four years. Goalie Lilla Nease set the single-game saves record at 16, breaking her own record of 15.
The Cardinals lost control at the end of the third and the fourth, allowing the Red Dragons to score six consecutive goals and catch up. Oneonta delivered the winning goal in overtime. The Red Dragons were awarded five free position shots in the last five minutes of regulation and overtime, scoring on three. Head Coach Kelly Wall wasn’t happy with the calls, vocalizing her disagreement from the sidelines.
Wall was proud of her team’s effort, giving a playoff team a run for its money. She credited their effort and teamwork the whole game. Oneonta Head Coach Brandi Lusk credited Wall and Plattsburgh for the challenge it gave the Red Dragons.
“They worked hard from beginning to end, they never gave up. They worked together from beginning to end,” Wall said. “[Oneonta] capitalized on the opportunities that they had.”
Plattsburgh makes one last road trip April 22, to play the Fredonia Blue Devils (6-9, SUNYAC 1-6). The Cardinals round out its season playing at home April 26 against the Potsdam Bears (2-11, SUNYAC 0-7), where it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
The men’s team (2-10, SUNYAC 0-4) also faced Oneonta (7-4, SUNYAC 3-1), losing 9-17. The game was Head Coach Darry Thornton’s first contest against his alma mater, where he once played goalie. The loss puts the team in a position where it now has to win out to have a chance at making the playoffs.
Five different Cardinals recorded multiple points. Attacker John Eiseman and midfielders Owen Lorenzetti and Donald Woods each scored twice. Goalie Dan Clements has matched his career-high single-game total in saves for the third game in a row with 20.
At one point, Oneonta made the decision to rest its starters, claiming the win. Plattsburgh didn’t quit and forced the Red Dragons to make the switch back to its first team.
“I liked that, as a team, especially these last couple of games, we stay together and never get down on ourselves,” midfielder Logan Jones said. “Obviously, the scores haven’t been going our way the last couple of ones. It’s easy for the guys to give up late in games and stop caring.”
The Cardinals aren’t a team SUNYAC opponents think of as an easy win. Third and fourth quarter runs all year have kept games competitive, and the team is especially proud of it. Jones credited this year’s team as having a stronger bond in the past, playing for each other.
“Everyone’s just trying to have as much fun as we can in these last few games of practice and these last few games,” Jones said.
In games like Oswego, Plattsburgh has gained momentum late in games. The Cards scored four straight goals to pull within two points in the fourth quarter of that game. Against Geneseo, the top team in the conference, Plattsburgh, despite being down 13, went on a 6-1 run in the fourth quarter.
Thornton has worked hard to ensure a positive team culture, putting players before results — and the players have felt it. Excitement has turned toward Senior Day next week, April 29, against the Cortland Red Dragons (9-4, SUNYAC 3-1). Cortland has been the SUNYAC’s big bad wolf and the Cardinals are up for the challenge. The players are looking forward to being rewarded for their hard work and dedication to the team, as previous years had lackluster senior days.
“If I’m a senior, I’m going to want a senior day,” Lorenzetti said. “It’s also for the young guys. The young guys want to have it when they’re a senior, they want to have a senior day too. It’s a nice little change.”
In years past, Lorenzetti was disappointed with the lack of huzzah surrounding the annual celebration. Win or lose, senior players have given four years of their lives to the team.
“He’s made it clear, like obviously we’re not going to have balloons and flyers, you know, it’s been a tough year,” Lorenzetti said. “But he wants to recognize us and our families for the hard work we’ve put in over the years.”