By Collin Bolebruch
Cardinals men’s lacrosse saw their seasons shortened in the last two years.
Head Coach Andrew Hauk, hired just last year, hasn’t experienced a full slate of games yet in his career at the position. Neither have the team’s freshmen, sophomores, or juniors.
They’re ready for the challenge.
The team’s 2020 season was cut short due to COVID-19 after playing just four games. The Cardinals were off to a decent start, splitting their games for a record of 2-2. On March 13, the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) announced that all spring athletic seasons would be canceled, coming a few days after an 8–30 loss for SUNY Plattsburgh.
In 2021, Plattsburgh saw their schedule cut in half, playing just eight contests after two cancellations. The 2021 Cardinals tied the 2020 Cardinals in wins, despite playing four more games. PSU ended the year at 2-6 with little or no fans at each game as SUNY recovered from COVID-19. During the 2021 season, Plattsburgh was out-scored by opponents 74-103, out-assisted 44-56, and out-shot 295-377 ━ the only statistic it led in was turnovers and penalties.
Playing post-COVID-19 was a major adjustment last season, and it still hasn’t been fully realized. In the face of the disappointing season, the Cardinals, both players and coach alike, took it as a learning opportunity.
“The season was extremely, you know, cut short, extremely so really more just trying to get acclimated with the guys and the guys trying to get acclimated not only our coaching style and like our program, but on the field work just on how we play on offense, how we play on defense.” Hauk, a former Cardinal goalie said of his first season.
Multiple Cardinals have been with the team longer than Hauk and have played at least one full season. Among these veterans is senior midfielder Zach Gill, who played 13 games in 2019. He also had an introspective look back on last season. “We went through a lot of stuff last year with the COVID year and everything so I mean just push, push through it, I think is a big, big aspect that our team had to deal with,”Gill said.
This season is planned with a full schedule. There’s a lot of inexperience on the team and younger guys have to step up. Midfield senior Stephen Kane was named captain for the first time this year, and he’s confidently stepping into the leadership role.
“Coming into this season, we knew we were going to have to deal with a lot of diversity and stuff and getting younger guys who brought into the whole system and stuff and I think we’ve done a pretty good job with that overall.” Kane said.
Gill agreed with the sentiment of guiding the younger players.
“I think it’s going to be harder on some of the younger guys, you know, just getting through it, because it’s always harder when it’s a longer season.”
With a complete schedule comes complete crowd attendance, fans
k in the crowds. With spectators being a non-factor last season, the Cardinals are excited to have them back.
“Having the fans there is just another atmosphere you know, like it’s funny last year we’d score a goal and we wouldn’t hear anything. You really had to bring your own type of energy and whatever energy the other team brought on the field, but the fans really do create the momentum in games,” Hauk said.
The season opener at Russell Sage this past Saturday was postponed due to inclement weather to April 12th, meaning Plattsburgh’s new season opener comes Wednesday, March 2nd at home against SUNY Canton. This will be the teams’ first matchup against each other in history.
The Cardinals look to put their full effort into this season.