Bengals win 11th straight, clinch playoff spot

Defender Kristin Seiferth and the Bengals improved to 12-3 on Saturday.

Dave DeLuca/The Record

Defender Kristin Seiferth and the Bengals improved to 12-3 on Saturday.

Tony Callens, Staff Writer

The goal at the outset of the season for the Buffalo State women’s soccer team was to clinch a spot in the SUNYAC playoffs and get to the semifinals, where its season has ended the previous two campaigns.

Over the weekend, the first of those two goals was accomplished with a 2-0 victory over Potsdam and a 2-1 win against Plattsburgh.

The Bengals win streak is now at 11 as they continue to break the previous record of eight straight wins set in 2006.

A big part of the success of the team this season has been the play of midfielder Melissa Smith who leads the team in points this season with 19.

“I feel really confident,” Smith said. “I feel like the more games we play, the more people want to see us lose and that drives all of us to win. The more intense a team comes at us, the more intense we come back at them.”

On Friday, Buffalo State cruised to a 2-0 win over Potsdam on the back of goals by forward Tianna Hatch and midfielder Victoria Colotti. The Bengals outshot the Bears 20 to 1 in the contest.

Smith scored two goals on Saturday against Plattsburgh to help her team outlast the Cardinals. The first goal came in the 18th minute when forward Meghan Allen delivered the ball to Smith in the box. Upon receiving the ball, she cut the ball to her left foot and shot the ball passed the goaltender and into the left corner of the net.

In a game that featured the first winter-like conditions of the season, both teams wanted to make sure they stayed warm and fit where the cold was a factor.

Much of the play came at a sluggish, choppy pace where each team had difficulties maintaining possession.

The pivotal play of the game came on a sequence where a mental aspect of soccer came into play.

Plattsburgh committed a foul 25 yards away from goal on the left side of the box and Buffalo State was awarded a free-kick. Smith surveyed the scene and made her kick which sailed into the air and arced over the head of the goaltender to make the score 2-0 and surprise everyone on the field and in the stands.

“I noticed the goaltender wasn’t paying attention, so I thought I’d try and shoot and see what happens. I mostly caught everyone off guard,” Smith said.

The mental game came into play yet again and Plattsburgh caught the Bengals off guard on this occasion as they took the ball right down the field and beat goaltender Jessica McCarey in rush to the ball in the box. Plattsburgh forward Sarah Haight slid into the ball and was able to get enough of it to force it to roll over the line for a goal.

At the half, the score read 2-1 and would stay that way for the rest of the game as Buffalo State hung on in the second half to record the win.

“It was a little tough today, but we pulled through,” assistant coach Francisco Cardillo said. “Plattsburgh is a very good team. They play the ball well, but we were up for it and we executed the game plan that Coach (Nick DeMarsh) and I installed. The ladies did very well.”

The Bengals will look to next weekend where they will finish their SUNYAC schedule in a matchup on Friday at New Paltz and then a matchup at Oneonta that could potentially decide the number-one seed going into the playoffs.

“We’re going to be doing the same thing we have been all year long and that’s maintaining pressure throughout the game,” Cardillo said “We’re going to do that and look to execute the rest of the way through.”

email: [email protected]