By Rob Centorani
The Daily Star
---- — GREENE — Oneonta High senior goalie Emmalee Sloman visited seventh heaven Tuesday night.
In the seventh round of a penalty-kick shootout, Sloman denied Bronxville’s Claire MacMillen-Bell with a diving save near the left post and then sent OHS’ girls soccer team into Class B state semifinals by scoring on Broncos goalie Charley Warble.
The game goes into the books as a 1-1 tie, but the Yellowjackets advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2004 with a tense 4-3 shootout victory. They also avenged a 1-0 loss to Section One’s Bronxville in last year’s Class B state quarterfinal.
“It’s a fitting end for Emmalee Sloman to get credit for the save and then turn right around and score the goal for as much as she’s meant to us after four years in goal,” OHS coach Jerry Mackey said on a cool evening at Greene.
Sloman made three saves in the shootout before scoring the winner, a line drive to the upper-left corner that Warble didn’t come close to saving.
“I have no words right now,” said Sloman, who was swarmed by teammates after her decisive kick. “I’m very overwhelmed and I’m excited. I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe this is happening right now.”
Sophomore Taryn More also played a big role for the Jackets, tying the score in regulation off an assist from Mariah Ruff with 18 minutes, 54 seconds left. She was also the last of 10 shooters in the five-round shootout and scored cleanly to the right side, tying the score at 3 to force the sudden-victory shootout round.
“It’s surreal after losing to them last year,” More said. “It’s awesome to be back in this game and end up advancing.”
Next for the Yellowjackets (17-2-1) is a semifinal against Section Eight’s Cold Spring Harbor at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Cold Spring Harbor, a Long Island team, defeated Section 11’s Babylon, 1-0, in two overtimes Tuesday.
For a brief period in the second half, it appeared the Yellowjackets would suffer the same fate as last year against the Broncos.
Last year, Bronxville scored on a re-start 50 seconds before halftime and went to win.
The Broncos (18-2-2) did it again this year. With 23:56 remaining in the second half, Killian Donahue set up for a free kick 30 yards out in the left-middle of the field. Donahue hit a gorgeous ball, a lofted shot to the far post that got over Sloman’s outstretched arms.
So perfect was Donahue’s shot you’d have had a hard time fitting a dime into the space the ball avoided hitting the crossbar and the right post.
“That was honestly a perfect goal,” Sloman said.
And once again, the Broncos led the Yellowjackets, 1-0.
But this time it would be short-lived.
An Oneonta squad that held advantages of 29-10 in shots and 9-4 in corner kicks, and generally controlled play throughout, continued to pressure.
Junior Ruff, who suffered a broken nose in Oneonta’s 4-0 victory over Seton Catholic Central in the sectional final Nov. 2 and wore a protective mask Tuesday, made a sparkling individual effort to set up More’s tying goal.
On the left side of the field and about 25 yards out, Ruff poked the ball from a Bronxville defender and then shot a gap along the outside of the 18-yard penalty box. She raced by another defender about 10 yards from the end line before serving a cross into the middle of the box.
“She’s really creative with the ball,” Mackey said of Ruff. “The same stuff she can do on the basketball court, she can do here. It’s outside-the-box-type thinking. She’s put a lot of time in here. Obviously, everybody here gets it that she’s going to be a Division I scholarship basketball player, but she’s stayed committed to the soccer team and we’re so appreciative she has.”
More ran onto the pass and slid a 10-yard shot through Warble’s legs and into the goal.
“I just tried to get into position,” More said of her 17th goal of the season. “I just saw Mar coming in and I saw where the goalie was positioned, right in the center. I had to bury in the back of the net. She came out a little bit and I went straight through her legs.”
Up until that point and from that point forward, Warble was the story of the game. The tall goalie thwarted numerous opportunities. She finished with 17 saves _ a handful of the eyebrow-raising variety.
— With 23:20 left in the first half, she snared a header by Cami Cleaveland from 14 yards;
— with 29:40 to go in the second half, Warble deflected a hard 18-yard shot by Cleaveland to the right post and then thwarted More from close range on the rebound;
— Warble made a diving at the right post to stop a shot by Dani Nicosia with two minutes left in regulation;
— and finally with 4:40 to go in the third overtime, she made a diving save at the right post to deny Cleaveland.
“She was amazing,” Mackey said of Warble. “After the shootout ended, she was in tears and I said, ‘No way. You get up. You played too well to let this be your lasting memory.’ She stopped a couple of shots we normally put away and one or two others, she laid out sideways. That’s big-time athletic stuff. It’s a testament to her, but we kept hammering away.”
The speedy Brieanna Baker and Nicosia set up numerous other opportunities. Baker made countless runs down the right sideline and turned the corner to set up chances the Yellowjackets couldn’t finish. Nicosia took close to 10 shots but couldn’t beat Warble.
As has been the case throughout the postseason, defensive specialist Madison Miller contributed another lock-down effort on an offensive star. This time, it was on Bronxville speedster Lucy Kohlhoff.
Kohlhoff made several deep runs deep into the attacking third, but Miller never allowed to get a clean look at the goal. So often, Miller trapped Kohlhoff in the corner and wouldn’t let her out.
“Madison, you know, kept Lucy pretty much rendered neutral, if not more,” Mackey said. “Our defense played great.”
The shootout started with Donahue and OHS’ Amy Hait converting clean shots in the first round.
Both teams missed in the second round, with Mason Warble shooting high and Charley Warble saving a shot by Ruff at the left post.
In the third round, Sloman barely had to move to save Meredith Donovan’s shot, but it stayed at 1-1 when Cleaveland shot over the goal.
Taylor Sears and Nicosia scored cleanly in the fourth round and Jess Tigh and More did likewise in the fifth round.
The sudden-victory shootout started with Sloman again staying stationary to stop Caroline Cory’s shot, but Miller’s attempt missed wide left.
That set up Sloman’s heroics in the seventh round.
“Definitely,” More said when asked if the right team advanced. “We had possession way more than them, so the fact that we were able to come out with a win is great.”
Added Mackey: “(Bronxville) Coach (Don) Cupertino said after the game, ‘The better team today deserved to go on.’ And I said (to Cupertino), ‘I appreciate that.’
“Last year, they were better and we were just happy to hang around,” Mackey continued. “(Cupertino) said to be quite honest with you, he told his girls at halftime, hey, they’re all over us, let’s just keep hanging around.”
Oneonta 1, Bronxville 1
CLASS B STATE QUARTERFINAL
Number before team indicates section
Oneonta advances with 4-3 win in shootout
Bronxville 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 1
Oneonta 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 1
1-Bronxville (18-2-2): Killian Donahue 1-0.
4-Oneonta (17-2-1): Taryn More 1-0, Mariah Ruff 0-1.
Shots-corner kicks: B 10-4; O 29-9.
Goalies: Charley Warble (B) 18; Emmalee Sloman (O) 6.
Penalty kick shootout: Killian Donahue (B) goal to upper left corner; Amy Hait (O) goal to right side; Mason Warble (B) missed high; Mariah Ruff (O) shot saved at left post by Charley Warble; Meredith Donovan (B) shot saved by Sloman in middle; Cami Cleaveland (O) missed high; Taylor Sears (B) goal to right side; Dani Nicosia (O) goal to right side; Jess Tigh (B) goal inside right post; Taryn More (O) goal to right side.
Sudden-victory shootout: Caroline Cory (B) shot saved by Sloman in middle; Madison Miller (O) missed wide left; Claire MacMillen-Bell (B) shot saved by Sloman at left post; Emmalee Sloman (O) goal to upper left corner.