PLATTSBURGH — A 13-5-2 overall record isn’t that bad.
But for the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team, which is accustomed to success, the 2011 season fell short of what the Cardinals were looking to accomplish.
With a solid nucleus returning and some talented newcomers in the fold, coach Chris Waterbury is looking for better results this year.
Plattsburgh opens its season this weekend by hosting the Cardinal Classic. Today’s first-round games have Skidmore College against Lyndon State at 5 p.m., followed by Johnson State versus Plattsburgh at 7:30 p.m.
“Any given year, you’re going to have some strengths and weaknesses,” said Waterbury. “We didn’t have size and physical strength last year — we weren’t a big team. We weren’t great at defending in the box.
“In certain matchups, we were fine. But in others, we weren’t.”
Waterbury’s team isn’t a whole lot bigger this season but is very quick.
“I’m not sure if we improved on our weaknesses,” he said. “But we’re extremely quick and tenacious on defense. We want to be in your face all the time and take our opponents our of their comfort zone.
“We have great depth. I’m not sure if we have a great starting 11, but our second 11 could be just as good. There’s been fierce competition in practice for playing time. We want to play a fast-paced game to make up for our lack of size. I think we’re going to be an exciting team to watch.
“The key for us is will we be able to dictate the tempo of the game?”
Waterbury likes the potential he sees from this team.
“We knew we had a large senior class returning, and it was important for us to bring in a large freshman class to get a year under their belts,” he said. “I like our freshmen. They’re quick, very dynamic and technical. They’re going to make us a stronger team.
“I like our team. The players certainly show promise. We have to be good at the things we do well to compensate for the things we don’t do well. The (SUNY Athletic Conference) is always tough.”
The Cardinals will need to show their depth as Nate Economou, a standout on last year’s team, could be out for the entire season with an injury. Senior back Brandon Levine may be out two to four weeks with an injury.
The Cardinals will be bolstered by the return of midfielder Matt Hamilton, who missed all of last season while being injured.
“Matt is fit and dying to play,” said Waterbury.
Some of the key returning players for the Cardinals include Mike Payne (4-7-15) in the midfield, Matt Martin and Nick Pourakis in the back, Erik Hakim, who is battling injuries, on defense, Jarred Antonucci and Steve Zacharczyk (4-4-12) up front and Andy Heighington (1.36 goals-against-average, 7 shutouts), who will be entering his fourth season as the starting goalkeeper.
“We will get good leadership from Andy,” said Waterbury.
Forward Joe Aratari, midfielder/forward Tom Greene (3-6-12), defender Wade Goehle and forward Nick Parrella (5-5-15) also return and will be counted on.
Among the newcomers, Waterbury likes what he sees from former local high school players Clay Sherman and Ethan Votraw. Sherman will play up front and Votraw in the midfield.
Midfielders Fabian Chaparro, Shaq Jackson-Lee and Mike Batiste are also looking good in the early going.
Plattsburgh State Coach: Chris Waterbury No. Name Position Year 0 Mitchell Jordan GK Fr. 1 Andy Heighington GK Sr. 2 Tom Greene MF/F Jr. 3 Joe Aratari F Jr. 4 Wade Goehle D S o. 5 Matt Hamilton MF Jr. 6 Brandon Levine D S r. 7 Jarred Antonucci F Sr. 8 Mike Biagotti F So. 9 Harvinder Azra F Sr. 10 Fabian Chaparro MF Fr. 11 Jason Baker D Sr. 12 Mike Payne MF Sr. 13 Sean Murphy D/F So. 14 Nick Parrella F So. 15 Erik Hakim D Sr. 16 Nelson Vetter D Fr. 17 Tyler Kessler D So. 18 Mike Batiste MF Fr. 19 Steve Zacharczyk F Sr. 20 Shaq Jackson-Lee MF Fr. 21 Clay Sherman F Fr. 22 Nick Pourakis D Jr. 23 Ethan Votraw MF Fr. 24 CJ Pourakis D Fr. 25 Matt Martin D Sr. 26 Omar Fernandez D Fr. 28 Carlo Coladonato MF Fr. 30 Zack Kruizenga GK Sr. 31 Tres Murphy D So. 32 Jason Foeppel D Fr. 32 John Toper GK Fr. 35 Mike Kowalski D Fr.