NORWICH – It’s been a remarkable run of success, not only for the Oneonta High girls soccer team, but for senior Mariah Ruff as well.
The Yellowjackets had their way with Seton Catholic Central on Friday night at Norwich High, beating the Saints for the third straight year in the Section Four Class B girls soccer final, the latest by a 2-0 count that doesn’t fully describe the level of dominance with which the Yellowjackets played.
For Ruff, it marked her sixth sectional title in a Yellowjackets uniform – three apiece in soccer and basketball. Since she transferred from Andes to OHS as a freshman, Ruff’s played in seven sectional finals, the lone loss a 2-0 setback to Chenango Forks in the 2010 Class B soccer final – the Yellowjackets’ last loss in sectional play.
“It’s incredible,” said Ruff, who assisted goals by Abby Picinich and Taylor Hitchcock early in the first and second halves, respectively. “It’s an honor to play for Oneonta High School. Sports are everything here. The teachers support us, the entire school and community support us. The players know how to work and they’re unselfish. I love it here.”
And leave it to a Division I basketball signee to affect a game with her hands. Ruff’s powerful throw-ins led to both goals.
“It’s one of those things that until you see (Ruff’s throws), you really can’t believe it,” OHS coach Jerry Mackey said of Ruff, who’ll play basketball for St. Bonaventure next winter. “It’s not a pop fly, it’s not a ‘I hope it gets to the box,’ it’s a lined I’m choosing who I’m throwing it to. … Against us, from 20 yards and in, that’s what we’re playing for.”
Oneonta’s next game will be Tuesday at a Section Four site against the the Section One champion – Bronxville or Albertus Magnus – in a Class B first-round game. OHS and Bronxville have met in state quarterfinals the past two years, with Bronxville winning, 1-0, in 2011, and Oneonta advancing in a penalty-kick shootout last year after the teams played to a 1-all tie.