It has been a big week for the Plattsburgh State lacrosse team. Head coach Ryan Cavanagh became the all-time winningest coach at PSUC with the team’s win against Oswego this past Saturday, and a win against Potsdam in their last game of the regular season Wednesday secured the Cards the No. 2 seed in the SUNYAC Tournament.
The win against conference rival Oswego was Cavanagh’s 49th as the head coach of the Cards, passing his predecessor P.J. Kavanagh in just four seasons compared to Kavanagh’s five.
Cavanagh is definitely proud of his accomplishment, but admits that he doesn’t really feel any different than he did before that game, and gave a lot of the credit to the guys going to battle for him every day.
“I have to be honest, it feels really normal,” Cavanagh said. “Also, I tell myself and the guys that any awards we receive are team awards. I obviously wouldn’t have been able to have done this without the team.”
Brendan Damm, a junior attackman who is leading the SUNYAC in both goals and total points, has a special connection to Cavanagh’s record. Although he is a junior, he is in a fourth year due to an injury that ended his freshman season prematurely, so he and some of the other seniors are part of the first class to have him as a head coach.
“It is crazy to see how we have turned around and what we have done,” Damm said. “We have been adding a stronger strength of schedule and playing better teams every year, and still being able to get this done is awesome.”
Damm also highlighted how Cavanagh’s coaching style has helped Damm himself improve monumentally and helped the team suceed as a whole.
“We have a system, but at the same time he lets us go out there and be a lacrosse player,” Damm said. “He lets us take some shots that other coaches probably would not allow, but it is obviously working out.”
Damm’s 47 goals and 76 total points in 2015 are enough to give him the SUNYAC lead for the second straight season, and while he is proud of the personal accomplishment, he gives a lot of the credit to his teammates.
“It definitely comes because of my teammates,” Damm said. “They open things up and get me the ball.”
Damm’s individual success is definitely matched by the team as a whole. The Cards’ victory against Potsdam not only secured them a spot in the SUNYAC tournament, but pushed them ahead of Potsdam and into second place, which allows them to play their first-round game at home. They will face either Brockport or Potsdam next Wednesday, depending on how those team’s fare in their final games of the season.
Freshman Ryan Hubbard is having quite a stellar freshman season, trailing only teammates Damm and senior Jack Felter in scoring, placing him third overall in the SUNYAC in goals.
Hubbard saved his best game of the year for what ended up being the team’s most important game, pouring in four goals and an assist in the win against Potsdam.
Hubbard credited his big game to the team’s plan heading into the game, which he says was executed as well as it possibly could have been.
“We had a game plan going in and we ran it perfectly,” Hubbard said. “It was a big game that we needed to win. We prepared for it really hard and ended up playing really well.”
Damm is happy that the team has been able to extend the season for the seniors, allowing them to play for at least a little while longer in a PSUC jersey.
“It feels great,” Damm said. “We now have at least another week of playing lacrosse. Potsdam is an upstate rival, and it felt really good to get the win against them.”
The Cards have played well at home this season, going 4-1 with their only loss being to the No. 1 seed in the SUNYAC in Cortland.
Cavanagh recognizes that whether they play Potsdam again next week or someone else, the competition will be tough and his team will have to battle.
“The conference is full of tough teams. We got a close win today against Potsdam, and we were lucky enough to be on the winning side,” Cavanagh said. “Knowing we don’t have to travel anywhere is great news.”
Email Bailey Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org