At this point in the season, the game clock winding down no longer signifies just the end of a game. For one of the two teams, it marks the end of its season.
Last Saturday, the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team was on the winning side of its first postseason battle against the Potsdam Bears. Two goals was all it took for PSUC to come out on top, as the defense was able to successfully shut down the Bears’ offensive juice completely. In fact, the defense was such a dominant force that they didn’t allow a single shot on goal for the duration of the first half.
“We didn’t let them breathe,” head coach Chris Waterbury said. “The first half was great, but this may have been our best complete game of the year.”
In order for a coach to make a statement like that, play has to be solid on both ends of the field, and although the offensive numbers were not astronomical, they were enough to lock down the win. Goals from both Alexis Archilla and Nicholas Laurent provided a cushion for the Cards throughout the game. Both of these players have been no strangers to watching their shots reach the back of the twine this year. Archilla leads the SUNYAC conference with an astounding 17 goals, four more than any other player in the league.
“Each game I just go out and help my team.” Archilla said. “For me, this means scoring goals, and that’s exactly what I’m going to keep trying to do.”
If Archilla can continue finding the back of the net and the defense can continue their stalker-like defense, then PSUC has the chance to make a run at the title this year. However, there has been some help provided by players who have taken it upon themselves to step up their game. One player who has embodied this spirit in last weekend’s game is junior midfielder, Jonathon Gamboa.
“He wasn’t getting a lot of minutes during the season.” Archilla said. “But last game, he was attacking more and created a lot of chances for our forwards and outside mids to score.”
Hoping to see more people like Gamboa step up, the Cards are preparing themselves for the journey that is the postseason, which poses a variety of obstacles.
Nothing is certain, and one play can make the difference between moving on and kissing the season goodbye.
“We’re playing every game like it’s our last because it very well could be.” forward Nicholas Laurent said.
The Cards hope to continue their season against the Oneonta Red Dragons this Wednesday. Oneonta has stayed atop the standings for quite sometime now but the Cards were able to get the best of them this season with a 1-0 victory back in early October. Waterbury knows the past is the past and nothing is certain but he believes in his team to come out on top once again.
“It takes a lot to make it to that championship game,” Waterbury said. “You got to have a great work rate, but sometimes it really just takes some luck.”
Email Kevin Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org