PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team took the lead late in the first half Saturday and built on it.
The Cardinals (7-1-1, 1-0-0) scored three unanswered goals after intermission to pull away to a 4-0 victory over Potsdam at the Plattsburgh State Field House Soccer Complex in the SUNY Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
“It was awfully nice to get four goals after the way we’ve been struggling to finish,” Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury said. “I was real happy it went that way for us.
“There’s nothing better than to start the conference season at 1-0 and I can’t think of anything worse if you start out 0-1. We had talked to the players about focusing on a positive game. It was a good team win for us.”
Both the Cardinals and Bears (6-4-0, 0-1-0) made some offensive runs in the opening half, but it remained a scoreless game until the 40:38 mark.
Starting Potsdam keeper Nick Davies left the game with a leg injury at the 40:22 mark and his replacement, Stefan Sloma, wasn’t in net long when Chris Bowden gave the Cardinals the lead just 16 seconds later.
Joe Aratari crossed the ball to Bowden, who trapped it and found the back of the net from in close.
“They had to make a goalie change, but I’d like to think we were knocking at the door anyhow,” Waterbury said. “You can’t look at that goal and say it was the new goalie’s fault.
“I was a little nervous when it was still 0-0 for much of the first half. We were doing a lot of good things and it could have been a better score for us. But our team speed was evident and getting that goal near the end of the half was massive for us.”
Steve Zacharczyk, who came off the bench as did Bowden, added to Plattsburgh’s lead just 4:51 into the second half after taking a cross from Nick Parrella and tapping the ball into the open net.
“When we scored our first goal, the guys were psyched and it almost felt like they had already won the game,” Waterbury said. “I told them at the half they hadn’t won anything yet and I wanted them to stay focused for 45 more minutes.
“I was pretty happy when we came out strong and got the second goal right at the beginning of the second half. Steve came off the bench and had a good first half. So, we started him the second half deservedly so and he was a catalyst. I felt good for him.”
Plattsburgh continued to press the issue and it wasn’t long after when Matt Hamilton made it 3-0 at 7:05 and then Bowden with his second goal of the game to make it 4-0, at the 29:11 mark.
“We wanted a wide-open game and it was,” Waterbury said. “I would have liked to have seen us a little more compact defensively. But a running game is fine with me.”
The Cardinals also dominated the game statistically with a 20-6 advantage in shots and a 5-0 edge in corner kicks.
Mitchell Jordon made just two saves while recording the shutout. Davies (3) and Sloma (3) combined for six stops for the Bears.
“I’m very happy with the way things turned out (Saturday), but it’s back to the drawing board to get ready for next weekend,” Waterbury said.
The Cardinals will host Oswego and Cortland this coming weekend.
Former Chazy Central School standout Brandon Laurin, a freshman, played the final nine minutes for the Bears.
Plattsburgh 4, Potsdam 0
Potsdam 0 0 — 0
Plattsburgh 1 3 — 4
First half- 1, PSU, Bowden (Aratari), 40:38.
Second half- 2, PSU, Zacharczyk (Parrella), 4:51. 3, PSU, Hamilton, 7:05. 4, PSU, Bowden, 29:11.
Shots: Plattsburgh 20, Potsdam 6.
Saves: Jordon, PSU, 3. Davies (3), Sloma (3), Pots, 6.