ONEONTA — Oneonta High’s girls advanced Friday, but coach Jerry Mackey cautioned that his squad’s season won’t last much longer if its play doesn’t improve.
Mariah Ruff shouldered in a corner kick from Taryn More in the first half and the speedy Abby Picinich scored on a breakaway in the second half of the Yellowjackets’ 2-0 victory over Waverly in a Section Four Class B soccer quarterfinal at Lloyd F. Baker Field.
But between the goals by Ruff and Picinich, second-seeded OHS struggled at times against the seventh-seeded Wolverines. Long pockets of play late in the first half and early in the second half favored a Waverly squad that leaned heavily on a pass-and-cut approach that gave the Yellowjackets problems.
“I’m happy we won and we’re certainly proud to beat a good team like Waverly, for sure,” said Mackey, whose team advanced to the Class B state final last season, “but realistically, that 20-25 minutes we put together at the end of the first half, our season is going to come an end fairly quickly if we can’t do more than that.”
The two-time defending Section Four Class B champion Yellowjackets (14-2-1) are still without two key starters — juniors Madison Miller and Brieanna Baker. Miller, who shared Daily Star Player of the Year honors with Ruff last season, is recovering from a right ankle injury she suffered during a 3-0 loss to Liverpool two weekends ago. Baker, who missed Oneonta’s last two games with a right shoulder injury, was in Plantation, Fla., on Friday for the Rising Stars All-American game for softball.
The fleet-footed Baker will be back for Tuesday’s sectional semifinal at home against Susquehanna Valley. Mackey said it’s possible Miller could return for the sectional final the following Friday or Saturday, if the Yellowjackets make it that far.