When the 2015 season began, the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team set out to capture a SUNYAC championship. With a combination of talent, relentlessness and strong chemistry on and off the pitch, the team has inched closer to a title by clinching a playoff berth in the SUNYAC tournament.

While the Cardinals (10-5-1, 4-3-0 SUNYAC) enjoy knowing they have a playoff spot, they are not ready to be complacent and want to continue to improve as the regular season concludes.

This mindset was clearly evident when PSUC controlled their game against Johnson State College well, defeating the Badgers 7-1 and outshooting them 47-6.

Junior forward Anissa Hartmann tallied a hat trick for the Cards, scoring two goals 31 seconds apart from each other during the game’s fifth minute and one goal in the 86th minute.

After the game, Hartmann, who leads the Cards and the SUNYAC with 13 goals, was excited to get her first hat trick in college but also praised how PSUC played during the contest.

“I think we played well throughout the whole game,” Hartmann said. “We came out strong, and we finished strong. It was a team effort from everybody coming off the bench to everybody on the field, and everybody played as hard as they could.”

In addition to Hartmann, forward Devin McMahon tallied a goal while midfielders Cait Gagen, Madeline Saccocio and Madison Trombley all scored once for PSUC.

The Cards’ game against Johnson State was their first since clinching a playoff spot, and PSUC head coach Tania Armellino stressed how important it will be moving forward to take everything one step at a time while keeping the mindset the team has had all season.

“We need to keep working and looking at what we need to improve on,” Armellino said. “If we embrace what we are guaranteed and keep working hard, I believe we can do exactly what we set out to do, but we have to take it one game at a time.”

During the season, PSUC has consistently used the approach Armellino preaches to them. In their two previous games against Fredonia and Buffalo State last weekend, the Cards secured a 5-2 victory versus Fredonia before losing to Buffalo State 2-1.

Anytime PSUC loses, Armellino wants her players to maintain the game-by-game approach they have used this season so losses don’t linger. She also wants to continue to see the positivity she has throughout the year.

“It’s hard to lose games when you expect to win and work to win, but I think one thing I’m most proud of with this team is their positivity,” Armellino said. “Positivity keeps everybody going, and it’s the support of each other in a positive manner that has made the difference this year and allowed us to do better at this stage of the season compared to last year.”

The Cards will return to action as they finish the regular season with two home games against SUNYAC opponents. PSUC will play Geneseo Friday at 3 p.m. and Brockport Saturday at 1 p.m., and the players want to seize momentum quickly in both games and keep to the style they have played with all season.

“These weekend games are important, and we need to come out fighting because they are not going to be easy games,” senior Devin McMahon said. “We have to keep organized, focused and positive, and I think we will be successful if we do those things.”

This weekend will be special for all the seniors on PSUC as they play the final two regular-season home games of their collegiate careers. McMahon acknowledged this weekend will be emotional but said the team can use the emotion as motivation.

All of the seniors’ teammates appreciate what the senior class has brought to the team and wants to rally around them this weekend.

“I think playing for them this weekend is definitely something we are all going to want to do and will do because we have grown great friendships with them, and they are just great leaders,” junior midfielder Ashlie Guinness said. “We want to win this for them.”

Email Joey LaFranca at joseph.lafranca@cardinalpointsonline.com

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