Fresh, familiar faces lead men to hot start
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
Thirteen wins, a fourth-place conference finish and a playoff appearance may sound like a solid 2011 season for the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team.
But for head coach Chris Waterbury, it wasn’t enough.
“Bottom line, the goals weren’t met,” Waterbury said about the season, which ended with a loss to Oneonta State in the second round of the SUNYAC tournament.
The Cardinals (3-0) have a similar set of goals for 2012, but they’ll have to do it without last year’s leading scorer, forward Pat Shaughnessy, who led the Cardinals with 33 points (14 goals, 5 assists). Though Shaughnessy is gone, team members believe that they can get a more all-around goal-scoring effort.
“A lot of players on the team have the ability to score goals,” midfielder Mike Payne said. “We don’t have one single goal scorer. I think this year we’re going to have a bunch of players that contribute to the scoring.”
Payne said the team is also getting back one of its own in midfielder Matt Hamilton, who suffered a season-ending injury early last season.
“I feel much better,” Hamilton said. “(I’m) completely pain free, and I’m really glad to be back with the team. It’s been awesome.”
On paper, the Cards aren’t much different from the 2011 team. They lost only eight players.
But Waterbury does see a few differences.
“The biggest difference is we’re definitely quicker,” he said. “We’re clearly deeper, but we’re not as big.”
That speed has been evident in PSUC’s hot start. The team has scored 15 goals in three games.
PSUC has been able to force its opponents into playing its quick style of play, while maintaining ball control and keeping up consistent offensive pressure.
Maintaining that style of play throughout the season is the main key to success, Waterbury said.
“If we can’t dictate the flow of the game, then that is going to be an issue,” he said.
Payne said if the team can dictate the flow, he thinks it can accomplish its goals.
“We want to win the SUNYAC conference and make it as far into the NCAA tournament as we possibly can. Those are the goals every year,” Payne said. “They have to stay the same, and we have to be positive about that in order for that to happen.”
Younger players may be another key to making those goals a reality.
“I think there are several (freshmen) that we’re going to rely on to contribute,” Waterbury said. “Fabian Chaparro is one. I think Ethan Votraw, Clay (Sherman). Mike Batiste is doing well. A lot of people are contributing.”
Chaparro is coming off a Cardinal Classic weekend during which he scored two goals en route to earning himself Offensive MVP honors. The 5-foot-6 inch forward/midfielder is one player in particular that Hamilton said he is looking forward to watching as the season progresses.
Hamilton also said all of the freshmen can step up and contribute — it’s only a matter of when and where.
The Cards will try to extend their current unbeaten streak as they travel to play Farmingdale State College (0-2-0) tomorrow at 1 p.m. and Old Westbury (0-2-0) on Sunday at noon.
Both teams are somewhat unfamiliar to the Cards, Payne said.
“We’ve never played them before,” he said. “We’re just going to go at them like we would any other team. Try to play the way we’ve been practicing and play our system.”
Waterbury agreed that he didn’t know much about the teams, though he said the weekend would be a good test for his team.
“Going down to Long Island for two games on the road, where you’re virtually playing two games in 24 hours, if we can come away with wins there, then it will be a very big positive,” he said.
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