CANTON — The Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team got a good workout defensively Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s opening round of the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament.
Nationally-ranked St. Lawrence University carried the play in the nonconference match-up with a 21-3 advantage in shots and a 7-0 edge in corner kicks.
Still, the Cardinals hung in there, with Daniel Hunt’s second-half goal being the lone scoring in the Saints’ 1-0 victory.
Although Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury would have liked to have won the game, he was able to get pretty much what he was hoping for.
“We made the decision prior to the game that we were going to sit in more defensively and not pick them up until they got to midfield,” he said. “We knew going in that we can’t get an at-large bid into the NCAA (Division III) Tournament and this game didn’t mean a whole lot. We wanted to use as little energy as we could (Wednesday).
“The guys did a good job. We played like 19 or 20 players to keep us fresh and not kill anyone out there going into the weekend. You can argue either way on our tactics (Wednesday), but we’re healthy going into the weekend.”
St. Lawrence (12-2-2) held Plattsburgh (12-5-1) without a shot over the first 45 minutes of play.
The Saints continued to have the better of play in the second half, with Cardinal keeper Mitchell Jordon making two big saves in close during one sequence to keep the contest scoreless.
“Actually, Mitchell made three good plays in that sequence,” Waterbury said. “As a team, we defended well and Mitchell played sure in net.
“The idea going into the game was to bend and bend, but not break on defense.”
But St. Lawrence finally broke through with 23:59 gone in the second. A corner kick was played back to Mark Provost, who had his low shot deflected. The ball went to Hunt, who found the back of the net with a hard, low shot.
Plattsburgh, however, was able to apply some pressure of its own in the final minutes and had its best chance to tie it when Alexis Archilla’s drive from straight on rang off the crossbar with 2:07 remaining in regulation.
“He hit the crossbar, the ball came straight down and didn’t go over the goal line,” Waterbury said.
Aaron Costello turned away two shots to record the shutout in net for St. Lawrence, which was ranked 10th in the country in Division III prior to last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Skidmore College.
“They’re a good team,” Waterbury said. “We didn’t want to do a lot of chasing against them. We would have needed to have played a total 90 minutes to be effective and I did not want to put our team through that.”
Jordon, meanwhile, finished with five saves for the Cardinals, who are the fourth seed in the SUNYAC Tournament. Plattsburgh hosts fifth-seeded Buffalo State at 1 p.m. at the Field House Soccer Complex on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
St. Lawrence 1,
Plattsburgh 0 0 — 0
St. Lawrence 0 1 — 1
Second half- 1, SLU, Hunt (Provost), 23:59.
Shots: St. Lawrence 21, Plattsburgh 3.
Saves: Costello, SLU, 2. Jordon, PSU, 5.