By Katie Donlevy
NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz women’s soccer team put up an aggressive fight against Plattsburgh State Saturday, but ultimately fell to the Cardinals, 3-0.
The game doubled as a celebration for the graduating senior class, which took place before the start of the game. Forwards Rachael Purtell and Alicia Fanni, and midfielder Raven Blake were starters in the game after they were honored.
Plattsburgh State (10-5 overall, 3-4 conference) went into the match up seeded as sixth in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) women’s soccer standings, but the Hawks did not allow the Cardinals’ status intimidate them. SUNY New Paltz (2-11-1, 5-1-1) went into the game desperate for a win; it was the Hawks’ last attempt at continuing into the quarterfinals for the SUNYAC playoffs.
The first half was spent in a stalemate with neither team scoring. Plattsburgh State made more movements in to SUNY New Paltz’ half, but the Hawks’ defense remained strong. The Cardinals out-shot the Hawks, 21-9, seven of which were made in the first half. SUNY New Paltz made three shots on Plattsburgh State’s goal during the first 45 minutes.
“I think that we did well in our midfield to dictate the tempo and the rhythm. I think that our back line did a really good job in the first half,” said Hawks coach Mike Eckberg. “I think that as the game transitioned into the second half, you just can’t expect to stay in the game if you give up two set piece goals.”
The Cardinal’s first two goals came within two minutes of one another, in the 64th and 66th minute. The quick change in the game visibly shocked the Hawks as they allowed Plattsburgh to make advances on their field. Junior goalkeeper Angela Ratka was charged multiple times during the second half, but managed to make four saves. Freshman defender Ciara Devlin retaliated against the Cardinals’ aggression with tactful footwork and powerful blows to keep the ball out of the box.
In the 87th minute, sophomore forward Jessica Levinson made a shot on Plattsburgh State’s goal that threatened a close final score. Levinson retrieved the ball after it rebounded off the top goalpost and made the shot, where it slipped out of Cardinal goalkeeper Taylor Adams’ hands, but was ultimately recovered before Levinson could sink it to the back of the net.
Plattsburgh State found an opportunity to score its final goal a minute later, but SUNY New Paltz continued to fight until the last second to the make up the deficit.
“I think regardless of the score I think that they came to compete and that’s something that we’re pleased to always see,” said Eckberg.