It was a weekend full of celebration for the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team. On the final day of the regular season, the Cardinals not only celebrated their seniors, but also secured the fourth seed in the SUNYAC tournament.
To say the Cards finished their regular season on a high note would be an understatement. After starting out 0-3 in conference play, PSUC turned its season around and closed out the regular season on a seven-game winning streak, which put them at 12-5 overall, and fourth in the SUNYAC conference at 6-3.
“We knew we were in the hole and that we just needed to win,” head coach Tania Armellino said. “I don’t think you could be more proud as a coach. When a team’s back is against the wall, I think people counted us out when we were 0-3.”
In their final weekend of the regular season, the Cards hosted the Blue Devils from Fredonia and the Bengals from Buffalo State. In each game, PSUC came out of the gates running, scoring early first-half goals.
The Blue Devils were simply outmatched, being held to only three shots the entire game. The Cards defeated Fredonia 2-0, with freshman Allison Seidman leading the way, scoring the early eighth-minute goal and then assisting on sophomore Abigail Seamans’ goal 59th minute.
Against Buffalo State, it was a little different along the way, but with the same outcome: a win.
PSUC went into halftime with a one-goal lead over the Bengals, thanks to an 11th-minute goal scored again by Seidman, but almost immediately after halftime, Buffalo State ties it 1-1.
That only lasted until the 61st minute, when the Cards battled their way into the box and forced a penalty kick, taken by senior defender Jessica Mangieri.
“Mangieri has always been calm under pressure, and doesn’t get easily rattled,” Armellino said. “She gets the job done in those situations, which isn’t easy at any level to do, but she stepped up for us and we all had 100 percent faith in her.”
In her senior year, Mangieri couldn’t have picked a better time to score her first three career goals. First, she launched one against Skidmore which proved to be the game-winner, and then a game later was called to the penalty spot, where she converted against Brockport in PSUC’s 2-1 loss. Against Buffalo State, she scored on another penalty kick, this time a game-winner.
“It’s a lot to handle, but coach knows I am confident in those situations,” Mangieri said.
Mangieri is one of the three seniors on this year’s club who were honored Saturday, along with teammates Jessica Reid and Michelle Nowak for senior day.
“It is such a great feeling to have been on this team the last four years,” Mangieri said. “We still have a lot to look forward to though, and if we all play our best then I think we can beat Oneonta.”
Less than a month ago, as visitors, the Cards defeated Oneonta 2-1. Now, these two teams will play again, but this time in front of PSUC’s home crowd in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs.
“The game against Oneonta [Oct. 12] was a great game, and they’re a great team, but so are we,” senior defender Michelle Nowak said. “I’m excited for this weekend, it will definitely be a tactical, interesting game.”
For a team that started out 0-3 in conference play, turning it 180 degrees in the middle of the season to finish 6-3, and earning home field for the first round of the playoffs wasn’t easy. But this team is full of resilience and has come a long way since the beginning of the year.
“In past games, when we get scored on, we would shut down,” Nowak said. “As a team now, we really work together to build ourselves up and to keep going throughout the game.”
The Cards will square off against the Red Dragons this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs.
“We’re in it to win it now,” Nowak said. “This is it.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com