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November 15, 2013

Cardinals prepared for pressure in NCAA soccer tourney

PLATTSBURGH — Pressure situations are nothing new to the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team.

After surviving three tough games to win the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament, the stakes become even higher for the Cardinals this weekend.

Plattsburgh will oppose Wheaton (Mass.) in Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. opening-round game of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Host St. Lawrence University will tangle with Thomas (Maine) in the first game of the day.

The two winners will meet at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the regional title game.

“Even though this is a different game, our last four games have been one-goal games,” Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury said. “We lost at St. Lawrence by a goal (1-0) and then won three one-goal games in the SUNYACs.

“We’ve played 12 one-goal games this year, and that’s a lot. Nothing has come easy for us this year.”

Wheaton (16-5) earned an automatic spot into the NCAA Tournament by winning the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Lyons rolled to a 5-1 victory over Babson College in the semifinals and then knocked off host and top seed MIT 1-0 in the championship game, avenging a loss in the regular season.

Wheaton has scored 50 goals thus far and is led by Travis Blair (16-5-37).

Five Lyons have 10 points or more, including Noah Kissoff (8-3-19) and Ben Altheu (7-1-15). Keeper Matt Dickey has a 14-5 record and 0.91 goals-against average.

“They have a couple of guys who can score goals, and one of them (Blair) has scored a ton of them,” Waterbury said. “Obviously, we’re concerned a lot about that.

“They’re very athletic, and they move the ball quickly. They’re in the tournament for a good reason.

“But we have to do what we do best — to the best of our ability, for better or for worse.”

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