The Plattsburgh State Men’s soccer team has clinched a spot in the SUNYAC championship against SUNY Oneonta.
The Cards knocked off Brockport in a first round duel with a 2-1 victory. They then had to shift their focus on a dangerous No. 1 ranked Cortland team, who have given PSUC trouble in the past. The semifinal matchup resulted in a 3-1 victory for the Cards and increased their win-streak to four games.
The Oneonta Red Dragons will host the Plattsburgh Cardinals Saturday November 4 in Oneonta.
The journey to the championship was a long and difficult, and with the championship coming up Saturday, the Cards know they don’t have a reason to celebrate just yet.
Underclassmen and upperclassmen have seen constant improvement in their own game which adds to the chemistry and firepower for the team.
“I noticed some changes in my game to try and focus on what we’re trying to do as a team,” Sophomore defender Joe Gula said. “The older players have helped with my game by pushing me in practices and giving me little tips on what to work on.”
Freshman midfielder Matt Iuorno commented on the improvement he’s seen in his game as well.
“Throughout the season I notice a lot of the little things improve in my game. It’s mainly due to the number of practices and games throughout the year,” Iuorno said. “Obviously, the more you play, the more comfortable you become with everything. ”
Coach Waterbury says he has been adamant about the way the team helps one another whether it be on or off the field. What’s being done in practice is translating onto the field, and the championship berth is proof of that.
The offense is in full gear as six different players scored on nine goals in the past four games. Sharing the wealth is a huge for this team, it keeps the offense flowing if the ball doesn’t stick. The past few practices have been about tuning up any mistakes that can be costly.
Preparation is key for Coach Waterbury, and it’s all about taking it one game at a time.
“We’ve been having good practices this week which has been getting everyone excited for the game,” Iuorno said. “We’re all getting locked into the game and all want to leave with a win.”
Juggling school , athletics and any other extracurricular activities can be extremely tiring, but the Cards team has not seen that as an excuse to fail.
Since the beginning of the season, there has only been one goal and that is winning a championship. It’s a tough road, especially as a student athlete, but the team used it as the fuel to their fire.
“It’s always going to be a little more difficult in school when you play a sport,” Iuorno said. “Coach has emphasized that school comes first and makes sure that we stay on top of our work and communicate with our teachers.”
The hard work and communication is evident in how they’re playing right now. Defense is where you need the most communication and it’s been responding. In the four games leading up to the championship game the Cards’ defense has only allowed two goals.
PSUC will leave it all on the field come November 4 in Oneonta. For some, this will be their last game, but for others, this could be the beginning of a whole new dynasty.
The Plattsburgh Cardinals will make their way to Oneonta in the SUNYAC championship match against SUNY Oneonta Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.
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