By Collin Bolebruch
For the eleventh time this season, the Cardinals failed to win. The Plattsburgh men’s lacrosse single-season loss record was set in 2004 when it finished with an abysmal 1-10 record. That record was broken last week.
On Saturday, April 23 when the Cardinals (3-11) lost to the Geneseo Knights (7-6) by a score of 4-12. This was also Plattsburgh’s eighth loss of eight or more points. Having already been eliminated from postseason contention, Plattsburgh holds the conference’s worst record at 0-5 while Geneseo holds the conference’s best at 6-0.
Despite the losses, the Cardinals’ defense continues to exceed expectations. Out of the Knights’ 60 total shots, only 12 were connected. As far as most other statistics go, they were not in Plattsburgh’s favor.
It saved 26 goals to Geneseo’s 12 — mostly the result of the difference in the number of shots. Plattsburgh has led in turnovers 20-9, whereas the Knights had 31 ground balls to the Cardinals’ 12 and 16 faceoffs to its two.
“We had good effort but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, we couldn’t score. That was kind of like our big downfall of the game… our offense wasn’t creating enough,” attacker John Eiseman said.
Plattsburgh’s midfielder Gustav Rugg had his season-high in goals with two on four shots, followed by one each from midfielders Stephen Kane on 10 shots and Owen Lorenzetti on four shots. Kane, Lorenzetti and Eiseman each had a team-leading one assist. Goalie Christian Bassi led in ground balls with three. He also tied with defender Justin Rocovich for the most caused turnovers with one each. Bassi was Plattsburgh’s only goalie, saving 26 of 38 shots on goal.
“Our goalie Chris Bassi has been balling all year long. He’s definitely the mainstay of our defense and the heartbeat of our defense. And just his approach as well has been awesome for us, like the guy where three hours before the game he’s locked in and in practices, he’s locked in,” head coach Andrew Hauk said.
On the flip side, Geneseo midfielder Sean Byrne led with three goals on six shots. He was closely followed with two each by attackers Kevin Cook on 12 shots, Christian Marcello on six shots and midfielder Drew Liguori on three shots. Cook was the sole leader in assists with two. Face-off specialist Ryan Lee led in ground balls with 11 and defender Trevor Bollinger led in caused turnovers with three. Mark Pav was the lone goalie, recording 12 saves on 16 shots on goal.
“There’s a lot of confidence, we were having a lot of fun yesterday. No one was like nervous or anything. The confidence is there, it’s just the actions you put in,” Eiseman said.
The first quarter opened up with rapid-fire shooting from both sides, with nine shot attempts in the first 6:10, yet the first goal did not come until Geneseo’s Byrne scored 9:19 in. Plattsburgh ended the quarter with six shots, five turnovers and zero goals. The quarter ended 3-0 Geneseo.
The next quarter was also a scoreless one for Plattsburgh, which consisted of four shot attempts and seven turnovers. Geneseo kept piling on the goals, totaling eight before the half. First-half scoring has been a problem for the Cardinals, but this is the first game of the season where they’ve gone into the break without a score.
“Defensively, we were sliding and covering really well. Good goalie play as well. I think the things we struggled with were on offense. We have one guy who’s producing for us, but we just don’t have a lot of guys,” Hauk said.
Just 3:28 into the second half, Plattsburgh struck gold as Rugg put its first points on the board. The third quarter was not much for action with only one other goal, from Geneseo’s Cook, being scored despite a total of 15 shots being taken.
The fourth quarter was Plattsburgh’s most fruitful, scoring three of their total four goals. However, this was too little too late, and Geneseo also tacked on three goals. The two traded shots until the game ended, with the Knights finishing as clear winners.
“I think a big part of [the loss], you know obviously winning faceoffs, so only winning two out of the 18 faceoffs is kind of hard, you know, not getting the ball right away gives them a lot of opportunities,” Rocovich said. “Also clearing the ball. I thought we did very well on getting it up and out to our deep middies to our short-sticks getting it up the field. But we struggled when we got over the midline.”
With two games left in the season, Plattsburgh can still win out and accomplish some things: create a winning locker room environment, gain some confidence and have fun for the seniors. A SUNYAC win would also raise the Cardinals off of the floor from the conference standings.
The Cardinals now travel to Potsdam to take on the Potsdam Bears (4-7) on Wednesday the 27th and come back home to take on the New Paltz (2-10) for the Cardinals’ senior day. The Hawks and Bears stand at a lowly combined 1-9 in the SUNYAC and are both very beatable teams.
“So for now, our goal is to go out there and have fun, upset somebody and ruin somebody’s season or make a point for ourselves that we are a really good team. We just had some troubles early in the year that took a while to figure out. To just kind of mold our team and the culture into what we expect to be like next year,” Rocovich said.