ONEONTA — The Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team exacted some revenge Wednesday afternoon.
But, more importantly, the fourth-seeded Cardinals have landed in the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.
After being eliminated from the conference tournament the past two seasons by Oneonta and losing in overtime in regular season play to the Red Dragons this year, the Cardinals turned the tables on their rival.
“We struggled to have success against Oneonta the past couple years,” Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury said. “The last two years they ended our season, so yeah a little of that was in our mind.”
Matt Hamilton scored the lone goal of the game and the Cardinals knocked off the top-seeded and hosts, 1-0, in the semifinals.
The victory sends Plattsburgh (14-5-1) into Saturday’s title contest against second-seeded Cortland, which scored in the first half for a 1-0 decision over third-seeded The College at Brockport in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
“Great team win, really proud of the effort (Wednesday),” Waterbury said. “It was an exhausting game, but hoping we can build upon.”
It was a back-and-forth first half, with both teams having some quality scoring chances.
But the contest remained scoreless, with Oneonta hitting the post on one occasion, until 1:43 was left in the opening half.
Plattsburgh’s Steve Zacharczyk sent the ball in and Hamilton outcompeted an Oneonta defender to get a shot on goal. Red Dragons’ goalie Vincent Pellegrini had come off his line and was out of the play. Hamilton’s shot deflected slightly off an Oneonta defender and into the net.
Plattsburgh then did more defending than attacking in the second half, but still had its chances to build on the lead.
“I thought it was a fair result to be up at halftime,” Waterbury said. “In the second half, I’m not sure if it was our legs, but Oneonta threw the kitchen sink at us and it seemed like the clock went on forever.”
Oneonta (11-4-4) finished with a 17-11 shot advantage, including an 8-5 edge in the second half. The Cardinals’ defense, however, was up to the task and Mitchell Jordon was solid in net while recording the shutout with 11 saves.
“We just kept bending and bending but we didn’t break,” Waterbury said. “I tip my hat off to the guys. Our guys played with heart and never gave up, our back four and goalkeeper was outstanding. Our big players needed to step up in the moment, and that is what Matt Hamilton did.”
Pellegrini ended up with six saves for the Red Dragons, who lost for the first time this season against SUNYAC opponents. Oneonta was 7-0-2 during regular season play.
Plattsburgh 1, Oneonta 0
Plattsburgh 1 0 — 1
Oneonta 0 0 — 0
First half- 1, PSU, Hamilton (Zacharczyk), 43:17.
Shots: Oneonta 17, Plattsburgh 11.
Saves: Jordon, PSU, 11. Pellegrini, One, 6.