FREDONIA — Jason Baker’s second-half goal would prove to be all the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team would need in a 1-0 victory over Fredonia on Friday in SUNY Athletic Conference play.
It marked the fourth-straight win for the Cardinals (14-1, 5-1) and their ninth shutout of the season. With three conference games remaining, Plattsburgh has moved into a first-place tie with Brockport.
The Cardinals held an 8-5 edge in shots in the first half, but neither team was able to get on the board.
“The first half was reasonably pretty even in the early going,” said Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury. “But as the first half went on, we started getting a little stronger and took a lot of confidence into the second half.
Then, after a failed header off a corner kick, a loose ball found its way to Baker, who was able to find the back of the net with 8:01 gone in the second half. Joe Aratari was credited with his team-leading sixth assist.
“Baker’s a great teammate and a hard-working player,” said Waterbury. “He’s played a number of positions for us this year.”
The Cardinals finished with a 19-10 advantage in shots, with Zack Kruizenga making two saves while improving his season record to 4-0. Blue Devils’ keeper Mike Schreiner was outstanding in a losing cause for Fredonia (4-11, 3-3) with 10 saves.
“Fredonia went to a 3-4-3 and it got crazy in the second half,” said Waterbury. “The field was stretched out and we had some point-blank shots that their keeper either made a great save on and we missed the net.
“We just couldn’t get the second goal. We did everything but score another one.”
The Cardinals, who have been riddled with injuries of late, got freshman midfielder Fabian Chaparro back on Friday. Chaparro has been out of action with an injury since September 22. He had two shots on goal.
“He played about half the game and it was nice to get him back,” said Waterbury. “Zack was solid again in net for us. We were going to give Andy Heighington the start in net, but he couldn’t go because of his injury. Zack found out he was starting only minutes before the game and that wasn’t easy for him.
“Nick Pourakis and Baker played great at center backs and Matt Hamilton did a great job in front of them. It was a good team effort.”
Plattsburgh plays its final SUNYAC regular season road game today at 1 p.m. at Buffalo State.
Plattsburgh 1, Fredonia 0
Plattsburgh 0 1 — 1
Fredonia 0 0 — 0
Second half- 1, PSU, Baker (Aratari), 8:01.
Shots: Plattsburgh 19, Fredonia 10.
Saves: Kruizenga, PSU, 2. Schreiner, Fred, 10.