(Front row, from left to right) Samantha Rachon, Casey Granger, Jessica Landman, Zoe Rice, Katie Stevenson, Tara Bendsak, Sophia Hatziyianis, Kayla Myer, Avery Durgan and Nora Fitzgerald in their Senior Day portrait at the Field House Oct. 7.
Forward Nora Fitzgerald poses with her family. Fitzgerald, once a defender, has nine career goals and 10 assists to her name.
Defender Kayla Myers poses with her family. Myers has started 41 of 44 games in her Plattsburgh career since transferring in 2021.
Forward Tara Bendsak (17) made her second career start against Fredonia.
By Mikai Bruce
Senior Day is a joyous yet bittersweet time for any student athlete, and the SUNY Plattsburgh women’s soccer team couldn’t have asked for a better one.
Plattsburgh had a staggering 10 seniors to acknowledge on this day and they recognized them by putting red solo cups in a gate in the shape of all the players’ respective numbers along with. The game opened with a ceremony featuring flowers and each player’s family members.
The seniors being celebrated were Nora Fitzgerald, Kayla Myers, Avery Durgan, Sophia Hatziyianis, Tara Bendsak, Katie Stevenson, Zoe Rice, Jessica Landman, Casey Granger and Samantha Rachon. The seniors were sent off with a 1-0 win against the Fredonia Blue Devils and it was none other than Fitzgerald who scored the game-winning goal.
It was an extremely rainy day at the Plattsburgh Field House Complex and the conditions on the field were monsoon-like. This did not stop the families of the seniors from showing up and extending love and support though. Multiple groups of people were camped under tents to keep out of the rain but with the cheers and jeers that were heard throughout the game, it seemed that the rain did not change much.
It was a corner kick in the 37th minute of the game that changed the tide. After the ball was launched into the air by Rice, it was Fitzgerald who got the first touch, then the ball found its way back to her and she knocked it in to give Plattsburgh a 1-0 lead.
“Really good, I was obviously hoping to get one. I had an opportunity before that, so I was like I really need to get one to make up for that, so, really good,” Fitzgerald said.
It was a storybook day for Fitzgerald, who has often been a main source of offense for the Cardinals.
“This being my second year, I think this senior class has left a really big imprint on what we want our program to be about, and the culture and everything, so I’m really excited for these 10 seniors. I also think on the field and off the field, they have helped mold Plattsburgh women’s soccer,” Head Coach Whitney Frary said.
These seniors were the embodiment of effort and hard work and the younger players on the team clearly followed their lead.
“Ever since I came here, it’s just been fun all the time. I love playing on the field with all the girls. I’m grateful that I get this opportunity, because everyday we go out and we work as hard as we can, it’s just fun,” Myers said.
Myers began her collegiate career at Nazareth College but played her other three years here and was an excellent addition to the team throughout her career.
“These are times I’ll never forget. I’ll treasure these moments. I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, and to make it to this level and this being my ending is a sad moment, but also a joyful time,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald was a standout player during her career at Plattsburgh, being named to the All-SUNYAC first team as a defender during her junior year. She contributed both as a scorer and a passer.
Senior Day does represent the closing of a door, but it also allows many players to sit back and reflect on their good memories and share those moments with their families, coaches and teammates.