PLATTSBURGH — Chris Waterbury couldn’t have asked for a whole lot more from his Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team on Saturday.
But, on this day, it wasn’t good enough.
Oneonta State captured the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament championship with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Cardinals at the Field House Soccer Complex.
“I was proud of the guys’ effort — they played hard,” said Waterbury. “They gave everything that was asked of them.
“When you don’t put a lot into something, it doesn’t hurt as much. But, when you do put a lot into something, it hurts a lot more. It’s devastating.”
The Cardinals (17-3-1) held a 21-13 advantage in shots, including a 13-6 edge in the second half. Plattsburgh also held a 13-3 edge in corner kicks, including a 9-0 advantage in the second half.
The Red Dragons held their ground defensively, withstanding a number of scrambles in front of their net, and made good use of their transition game.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way,” said Waterbury.
Both teams had a number of chances to get on the scoreboard in the first half, only to go into halftime still scoreless.
“It could have been a 2-all game at the half,” said Waterbury.
It remained scoreless until 33:29 was gone in the second half when Oneonta caught Plattsburgh in transition. Luke Hallberg went down the right side and sent a hard shot low into the far corner.
“Their best players are their attackers,” said Waterbury. “They are a great team in transition.”
Jake Sutherland then gave the second-seeded Red Dragons (13-5-1) a 2-0 lead with 2:15 left in regulation when the Cardinals were caught.
“They scored with 11 minutes left in the game to take the lead and we were forced to throw everyone up to try and get the equalizer,” said Waterbury. “We were able to apply a lot of pressure, but that also makes you susceptible to a counter attack.”