As Oneonta High’s girls prepared for this weekend’s Class B state soccer semifinals, Yellowjackets coach Jerry Mackey said he sought advice from OHS’ baseball coach.
Don’t worry. Mackey hasn’t started teaching sacrifice bunts or the correct way to pivot on a double play to his 17-2-1 squad.
Instead, he asked Joe Hughes’ counsel for insights on how the Yellowjackets baseball coach guided his squad that beat the 2009-2010 and 2011 state champions, and the 2011 state runner-up en route to a state title this past spring.
Oneonta’s girls will have to take a similar path if they want to win the program’s first state championship.
The Yellowjackets advanced past 2010 state champion Bronxville on Tuesday in a state quarterfinal. Through 110 minutes of regulation and four overtimes, the teams played to a 1-all tie before OHS advanced with a 4-3 win in a penalty-kick shootout.
At 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Tompkins Cortland Community College, OHS will face a Cold Spring Harbor squad that lost in a shootout to 2011 state finalist Greece Odyssey in the semifinals.
Greece Odyssey and 2011 state champion Schalmont will meet in the other semifinal — that game starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Cortland High.
Saturday’s winners will play for the state title at 10 a.m. Sunday at Cortland State.
“There are a lot of similarities, for sure,” Mackey said. “I’ve been picking Joe’s brain, because last year and the year before, they set a new bar.
“When our draw came out, we’ve never wanted the easy way out,” he continued. “We beat a tough Seton Catholic Central team (4-0 in overtime in the Section Four final), we beat a tough Bronxville team, we have Cold Spring Harbor waiting for us and then possibly Schalmont, the defending champs, but we’ve never ducked a challenge.”