By Liam Sample
With its back against the wall, the Plattsburgh women’s soccer team came alive, picking up its first conference in commanding fashion.
The Cardinals were at a low point in the season after losing to the Potsdam Bears, who came from behind and scored two goals in the second half to shock Plattsburgh. Now 0-3-1 in the conference, Plattsburgh traveled to Brockport and went on to beat the Golden Eagles 2-0 behind a masterclass from graduate student Allison Seidman, who scored both of the goals.
Coming into Brockport, Plattsburgh’s offense had only produced three goals in the last five games and needed a jolt.
“My job is to score or assist goals. Coming off Potsdam, that was a very, very tough game to lose,” Seidman said. “I just had to get into the mindset that I needed to score, and I needed to produce for the team because I knew I could do it.”
Brockport came into the game with a 2-1 conference record and sat above Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC standings. The Cardinals did not waste any time trying to secure its first conference win.
Before the eight- minute mark and following a corner kick from the Golden Eagles, sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Haley sent the ball upfield. After back and forth between the teams, graduate student Kirsten Villemaire played a through ball from midfield to outside the penalty area. Seidman, infamous for her speed, turned on the jets, pushing the ball past a defender and into the box. With no hesitation, Seidman shot the ball into the lowside of the goal.
“I kind of felt strong. I just pushed through those girls and I stayed composed,” Seidman said.
With a goal less than 10 minutes into play, it seemed like a recipe for a high offense game. However, it turned out to be the opposite, with both teams battling defensively. Only seven shots were registered total between the two teams over the half with Plattsburgh tallying one more than Brockport. Seidman said she has so much trust in the team’s backline. She said, from facing her defenders in practice, that they’re all talented in their own way.
“The goal was to stay disciplined in this game. [Against] Potsdam, we were definitely flying out a little more,” junior defender Nora Fitzgerald said. “Trying not to get caught flat, because they were trying to find that through ball.”
Going into the second half, Plattsburgh’s determination shined as it did not waste any time trying to extend the lead. This time just over four minutes into the half, the Cardinals stole the ball in the defensive zone and sent it way upfield. Villemaire chased it into the far corner, with two defenders on her, she made a pass into the middle of the penalty area. Seidman raced to the ball and beat the goalkeeper.
“That pass from Kirsten [Villemaire] was unbelievable. I think that having the speed that I have, that’s why that goal was able to happen because I had to sneak around the defenders.” Seidman said.
She said that this goal was her favorite of the two. Her goal total is up to four on the season, as she leads the team. Villemaire, who assisted both goals, brings her assist count up to four.
“Me and Kirsten [Villemaire], we just kind of know where we are on the field. We just work well together.” Seidman said. “I think that these two goals were just a prime example of what we actually can do. We’re talented players and we finally were able to show people that we can work together to get the result we need.”
Junior defender Kayla Myers said the goal is what the team has been working on and said “it played out exactly how you would want it to.” She also said these goals from Seidman were “exactly what the team needed.”
“I think that [Seidman] really just put it all out there and went for it,” Myers said. “Just taking that extra chance, I think [that she was] believing in herself and everyone else was believing in her.”
Brockport amped its offense up after the goal, but the defensive line and Haley held strong. She made a huge one on one save on sophomore forward Maryalice Skutnik with 5:21 remaining in the game to preserve the shutout. Fitzgerald described it as a “sick save.” Haley finished with four saves for her first career SUNYAC shutout.
Plattsburgh went on to pick up another shutout win in a non conference game on the road against the St.Lawrence Saints Oct 4. The team won 1-0 behind a nine save performance from Haley.
The Cardinals return home in a crucial conference game against the Oswego Lakers. This installment of the famous rivalry could determine results in the playoffs, as Oswego is among the top teams in the standings. Plattsburgh is tied with Buffalo State for sixth in the conference, which is the final spot to get into the conference playoffs.
“Obviously, losing like we have, it definitely is different than what we are used to,” Seidman said. “But, I think that now, being able to show what we have so late in the conference, it will drive us to keep winning.”