MIDDLETOWN — A single teardrop remained atop the rosy left cheek of Taylor Hitchcock as she looked up from the bench, where she had spent the final 24 minutes and change of Saturday’s Class B girls soccer state quarterfinal at Middletown High.
“I think it was a corner,” Oneonta High sophomore midfielder Hitchcock said as she sat with her left leg riding along the wooden bench to elevate her injured ankle. “I went up for a header and I just landed on my ankle wrong. It’s swollen pretty good. But hopefully, I’ll be back for Saturday.”
Dr. David Picinich, an Oneonta chiropractor who doubles as the father of teammate Abby Picinich, then shook his head.
“It’s sprained,” he said. “It won’t be healed by next week.”
“We’ll see about that,” Hitchcock responded.
At least the Yellowjackets have another week to find out.
Hitchcock and junior forward Taryn More scored unassisted goals in the second half of Oneonta’s 2-0 victory over Section Nine’s Spackenkill as the Yellowjackets earned a spot in the state semifinals for the second straight season.
“Now we’re alive on the last weekend of the season,” said OHS coach Jerry Mackey, whose girls will play Section Five’s Hornell (19-3) at 5 p.m. this Saturday at Cortland High. The winner advances to the state final against Section Three’s Marcellus or Section 11’s Center Moriches at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Cortland area.
“If we’re alive on the last day, great, and if it’s good enough, OK,” he continued. “But if it’s not, it’s certainly not because these girls didn’t play hard.”
Three-time defending Section Four Class B champion Oneonta (18-2-1), which is seeking its first state title in girls soccer, played to near exhaustion on a sunny, crisp afternoon but had nothing to show for it after 40 minutes. Despite pinning the ball in Spackenkill’s end for the majority of the first half, the teams entered the break deadlocked at zero.