Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Trio leading Cards during hot streak

The Plattsburgh State lacrosse team is getting used to winning.

Since dropping their first two games of the season to Rochester Polytechnic Institute and Middlebury, two teams that are currently ranked in the Top 20 in the nation, the Cardinals have won seven out of eight games.

During this streak, the team has been functioning well in every facet of the game. The defense, along with two-time SUNYAC Goalie of the Week Matt Massaria, is limiting teams to 7.70 goals per game, which is third in the conference.

On the other side of the field, PSUC’s starting attack line feature Brendan Damm, Jack Felter and Ryan Hubbard who are currently the top three goal-scorers in the conference. The phenomenal attackmen, who all are top 10 in total points in the SUNYAC, are joined in the category by James Read, who is second to only Damm in total points accumulated this season.

Head coach Ryan Cavanagh laid out a lot of praise for the three men putting up a lot of points.

“We have really good balance in terms of that unit, our system and what those guys bring to the field,” Cavanagh said. “They have been very productive. Ryan and Brendan open up space for one another, and that helps Jack as well.”

A specific key to the success of a lacrosse team’s offense can be attributed to the midfielders and attackmen working well together. Cavanagh explained that while the big numbers being put forward by his starting attack are extremely impressive, this connection between them and the midfielders is strengthening their offense and opening up space for them to attain such high numbers.

“I’d say our midfielders are the workhorses of the team and the attack are reaping the benefits of that,” Cavanagh said. “Every time the midfielders push it in transition, the attack are the guys that are finishing.”

Hubbard, although new to the team and only a freshman, said his connection between with the midfielders is already strong.

“Us and the midfielders have started to bond a lot over the last couple weeks,” Hubbard said. “Against Bowdoin, almost all the goals were assisted, which shows the attack and midfielders were working well together that game.”

This pushing the ball in transition is something Cavanagh has mentioned throughout this entire season that needs to be improved, but as of the Cards’ most recent games, the issue seems to be in the process of becoming resolved. They are scoring more goals as well as winning games. Damm explained that when Cavanagh puts an idea or strategy out on the table, they listen to him and put it to use on the field.

“We are doing everything we can to just do what coach tells us,” Damm said. “We do well when we listen to him and play the way we know we can.”

A 10-6 win this past weekend against Brockport was the Cards’ first conference game of the season. Though out-of-conference games are important for preparing teams for the more important ones down the line, it is the SUNYAC games that are crucial for a team to win. Cavanagh said he explains this importance to the team and he believes they know how big the upcoming in-conference games are to a team.

“A team could go 0-8 before conference play then win 5 conference games and still win the tournament,” Cavanagh said. “These games are huge. They are what make a season.”

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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