A new semester is underway at Plattsburgh State. To some students, the new semester offers a clean slate for those who have struggled in the past. The case is no different for the PSUC men’s soccer team, who look to learn and improve from their mistakes.
“Part of the excitement for the new season is a fresh start,” head coach Chris Waterbury said. “Last year was a disaster, and we’re looking to get that chip off of our shoulder.”
Waterbury is no stranger to success, and last season fell short of his expectations, to say the least. PSUC closed the season with a 9-9-1 record, something that the team isn’t accustomed to. In Waterbury’s astonishing 31 years with the Cards, he has led the team to 26 winning seasons. Due to last year’s failures, there is now a sense of urgency pulsing throughout the team.
“This preseason we started to bear down and focus on the little aspects of the game,” senior goalkeeper Mitchell Jordon said. “Both the coaches and the captains came together to make strides in the right direction for the upcoming season.”
The strides that the veteran goalkeeper mentioned include becoming an offensive force and creating a solid defensive shape, as well as improving their record in the constantly competitive SUNYAC Conference. The team’s 3-6 conference record is among one of their most disappointing outcomes from last season.
Looking forward to this year, the Cards have identified the teams that they need to look out for. Jordon sees Oneonta as the toughest team they will have to face. The Red Dragons are rolling off an 8-0-1 conference record and seek to continue their dominance throughout the league. However the past is behind both of the teams, and PSUC has some new faces that are eager to help the team. One of the rising stars in the PSUC program who has stood out to his fellow peers is sophomore mid-fielder Max Delavalle. Jordon explained that while many of the younger players look good, Delavalle is a standout.
“It’s not that I’m not impressed with everyone else’s work,” Jordon said. “I’ve just seen a lot of good things from that kid, and I’m excited to see him go out and play.” Delavalle and the rest of the team definitely took the advice of their coaches and captains and started to put things together during their home opener Tuesday against Clarkson University.
Last year, PSUC was able to trump the out of conference Clarkson squad with a final score of 3-1.
Assistant Coach Geoff Spear was aware of what it would take to duplicate the previous season’s result. In an interview prior to the home opener, the assistant coach expressed his ideas.
“We know what they’re coming with.” Spear said. “It’s just a matter of us going out and executing.”
Execute they did.
PSUC trumped Clarkson 2-1 in an overtime thriller on a header by sophomore forward Nicholas Laurent.
This type of execution is an aspect of the game that is essential to winning- especially the kind of winning that Waterbury is used to. When questioned about what it will take to be successful this year, Waterbury had another aspect to throw into the mix.
“As a coach its my job to get the team to mesh together,” Waterbury said.
The team has the challenge of playing as one unit, something that most teams in any sport strives towards.
“At the end of the day, I just want to see all 29 of my players come together and be the best team that they can be,” Waterbury said. “The rest will fall into place.”
Email Kevin Morley at email@example.com