After earning its first conference win of the season on Friday in a 2-1 victory over SUNY Potsdam, the Oswego State women’s soccer team dropped a 4-1 decision to rival SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday afternoon at Laker Field.
Plattsburgh’s Lindsey Keyser scored twice and Kristie Pageau recorded four assists, as the Cardinals dropped the Lakers to 1-3-0 in conference play. The Cardinals scored twice playing into the wind during the first half before netting two more goals playing with the wind at their backs in the second half.
The Lakers (7-4-0 overall, 1-3-0 SUNYAC) had an opportunity to take the early lead in the eighth minute on a breakaway attempt by sophomore forward Nikki Liadka, but Plattsburgh goalkeeper Monica D’Ippolito made the save. D’Ippolito finished the game with three saves on four shots faced.
For the second consecutive meeting in Oswego, the Lakers and Cardinals played in cold, windy and rainy conditions.
“The weather played a big factor, but we had chances early,” head coach Brian McGrane said. “We missed a breakaway and that would have changed the shape of the game quite a bit.”
The Cardinals (4-3-2 overall, 2-1-0 SUNYAC) struck first in the 25 minute mark on a goal by Emily LaLone. Pageau earned her first assist of the game, finding LaLone with a pass into the box from the right side of the field. LaLone handled the pass and fired a shot past Oswego State goalkeeper Emily Varonier for the one-goal lead.
Plattsburgh took a two-goal lead in the 28 minute on Keyser’s first goal of the game. Pageau earned her second assist of the game with a pass from just inside the Oswego State defensive zone that found Keyser on the left side of the field. Keyser chipped a shot that made its way around Varonier, who had come out of her net in an attempt to cut off a shooting angle, and into the far side post, as the Lakers went into halftime trailing 2-0.
“The first half we played decent,” McGrane said. “We just had two breakdowns and they were fortunate to capitalize. When (Plattsburgh) broke down we didn’t make them pay.”
The Lakers cut the deficit in half on a goal by senior defender Liz Conrad in the 59 minute mark. Conrad’s goal was the result of a free kick awarded to Oswego State following a Plattsburgh penalty. Senior defender Stephanie San Antonio took the free kick and found Conrad, who beat D’Ippolito for her first goal of the season.
But the celebration was short lived, as Plattsburgh’s Leigh Metcalf scored 24 seconds later to regain the two-goal lead. Pageau found LeLone in the box, who sent a pass to Metcalf on the left side of the field. Metcalf fired a shot that Varonier got her glove on it, but couldn’t redirect the ball enough to keep it out of the back of the net.
“The weather was just tough for us for some reason,” McGrane said. “I know (Plattsburgh) had to play in it, but for whatever reason we mentally were not there pretty much the whole game.”
The Cardinals put the game away in the 86 minute on Keyser’s second goal of the game and Pageau’s fourth assist of the game. Keyser is tied for the team lead in goals for the Cardinals with three, while Pageau leads the team in both assists (five) and points (11).
“I definitely don’t believe they are 4-1 better,” McGrane said. “We left gaps for ourselves and they buried their chances. You make it 3-2 and it’s a completely different game; 4-1 and it’s out of reach. Credit them, but I think we’re an equal team.”
Plattsburgh outshot Oswego State 17-5 for the game, including 9-1 in the second half. The Lakers were held to two corner kicks and surrendered five corner kicks to the Cardinals in the second half.
Varonier finished with three saves on seven shots faced in a losing effort.
The loss to Plattsburgh is a difficult pill to swallow for McGrane, a Plattsburgh alumnus.
“There’s really only one game I really care about and that’s Plattsburgh,” McGrane said. “For the team to play the way they did and lose 4-1, it stings a little bit more than any other loss.”
At 1-3-0 in conference play, the Lakers currently sit in eighth place with three points in the 10-team SUNYAC. Oswego State trails sixth-place SUNY Brockport by three points for the final playoff spot.
The Lakers host a pair of crucial home games this weekend to close out the home portion of their schedule. Oswego State plays SUNY Fredonia on Friday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. and Buffalo State on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. as part of Senior Day. The Blue Devils currently sit in fourth place in the SUNYAC at 2-1-0, while Buffalo State is ninth at 0-2-1.
“It’s a must have six points,” McGrane said. “If we don’t have it, we’re not completely done, but the light is slowly getting thinner and thinner. This weekend is do or die.”
The Lakers close out the season with three road games against seventh-place SUNY Geneseo, sixth-place Brockport and first-place SUNY Cortland.