By Jayson Gaston
It would be tough to imagine a better start for the Plattsburgh Cardinals men’s soccer team. The team remained without a loss through last weekend, culminating in a second conference win over a SUNYAC rival, the Fredonia Blue Devils.
The Cardinals defeated the Blue Devils 2-1 on Saturday, Oct. 7, moving its conference record to 2-0-3 and its overall record to 7-0-4. The Blue Devils fell to 5-4-4 overall.
The game saw the Cardinals fall behind in the first half. Fredonia came out strong, notching a 16th-minute goal to go up 1-0 early in the game. The Cardinals remained aggressive despite this early deficit, as it got off eight first-half shots to the Blue Devils’ six. The Cardinals held Fredonia scoreless at the start of the second half with junior goalkeeper Teddy Healy contributing two of his six saves to keep the score 1-0.
The Cardinals’ offense began to push for a comeback in the second half. In the 64th minute, junior forward Brian Coughlan scored the game-tying goal after beating two defenders. With the game now tied, the Cardinals looked to control the ball as it would give up no shots to the Blue Devils after the 76th minute.
The Cardinals broke the tie in the 83rd minute as junior wing Modou Badjie drew a penalty after being tripped from behind by a Blue Devil. The Cardinals went with Coughlan for the important kick and Coughlan delivered, scoring his second goal of the day and taking the lead for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals finished a dramatic game. Cardinals Head Coach Chris Taylor was confident in his team’s ability to come back and eventually close the game.
“It might be three of the last four games we’ve gone behind and we’ve come back to at least tie in all of them,” Taylor said. “I think that speaks to the competitive level of the guys, their competitive mindset, because when you fall behind in a game you can make adjustments but ultimately, winning mentality takes over.”
Coughlan won SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
“We just know we gotta stay in every game, compete with every team,” Coughlan said. “Just about getting that first goal and then just going from there, not focusing on winning the game right away.”
With the win, the Cardinals now have had the best team start in the past 20 years. The team is staying focused and keeping a one-game-at-a-time mentality to close out the year.
“I think, to be honest, it’s about one game at a time, one day at a time. We don’t look ahead from day one of preseason, we don’t need to talk about winning, we don’t need to talk about records or playoffs or championships because they’re just outcomes to us,” Taylor said.
The Cardinals took its first loss of the year to the Cortland Red Dragons, 0-2 at home Oct. 11. The nationally-ranked No. 11 Cortland top the SUNYAC with a 11-2-1 overall record. Plattsburgh will host the 8-3-2 Buffalo State Bengals for its Senior Day Oct. 14.
Wing Modou Badjie says the team is staying ready for these upcoming conference games.
“We’re ready for a fight and hopefully, we’ll come out with a win,” Badjie said.