PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team controlled the majority of play and held a wide edge in shots in its SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal against Cortland on Friday.
The Cardinals, however, found themselves down, 2-1, with 15 minutes left in regulation at the Field House Soccer Complex.
But top-seeded Plattsburgh (17-2-1) erupted for three goals and escaped with a 4-2 victory to avenge a regular season loss to the Red Dragons (9-8-1).
“It was a redemption game for us,” said Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury. “We had lost to them (4-3 in overtime) the first time we played them and we had a ton of issues in that game.
“We didn’t play our best game of the season today, but it wasn’t our worst. These games are a war and we survived.”
Plattsburgh will play second-seeded Oneonta, a 2-1 semifinal winner over New Paltz, in today’s 1 p.m. championship game.
Cortland took a 2-1 lead with 12:44 gone in the second half when Chris Barbosa crossed the ball to Bryan Merlos who drilled a hard shot into the corner from near the top of the box.
“You couldn’t help but think about the situation we were in.” said Waterbury.
The Red Dragons then began to play well with the lead until the Cardinals got the equalizer at the 30:32 mark. Mike Payne’s corner kick was headed into the net by Steve Zacharczyk.
“Absolutely, getting the second goal was big for us as far as the momentum of the game was concerned,” said Waterbury.
Still, the Red Dragons nearly regained the lead when a Cortland shot deflected off the crossbar with a little over 12 minutes left.
Plattsburgh then brought the ball down the field and the Cardinals were awarded a penalty kick when a Plattsburgh player was taken down in the box. Matt Hamilton made good on it at the 33:37 mark to give the Cardinals the lead for good, at 3-2.