Oneonta High girls soccer coach Jerry Mackey once described a supremely talented state tournament opponent by saying his squad would be venturing into the deep end of the pool.
It would appear that the Yellowjackets girls basketball team is about to jump headfirst into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
When OHS (20-1) and three-time defending state champion Irvington (21-2) meet at 10 this morning in a Class B state semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College, the Yellowjackets will be swimming in Division I-infested waters.
The Bulldogs’ starting lineup includes two players — 6-foot forward Lexi Martins and point guard Brittni Lai — who’ll suit up for D-I programs next season. Right now, they play for a squad that scores points with the same frequency that Titleist churns out golf balls.
Though Section One’s Irvington and Section Four’s Oneonta enter the semifinal ranked 1-2 in the state, respectively, the Yellowjackets no doubt are big underdogs for this one.
But, as OHS senior forward Kelsey Baker said Wednesday: “We’re not afraid of anyone and we’re not going to back down from anyone. We’ve played good teams, Horseheads and Penfield, and they’re great tests. I don’t think Irvington’s going to be the big monster that everyone has them built up to be.”
Today’s winner will play Section Five’s Waterloo (22-1) or Section 10’s Salmon River (17-6) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Class B final. Waterloo and Salmon River will meet in the other Class B semifinal at 11:45 a.m. today at HVCC.
“You can’t give your opponent a mental edge before the game even starts,” OHS coach Matt Miller said of today’s game. “I know they have a great record, but I keep telling the kids they haven’t played us yet. I think our kids are pretty competitive. One of the traits I’ve grown to love the most about this team is they’re not afraid of anyone. They don’t get intimidated.”