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Local Sports

November 9, 2013

Area's final four seek state soccer titles

Oneonta High’s boys and girls have been here a lot, but they don’t have much to show for it.

The Yellowjackets boys have reached three state soccer tournaments in the last five seasons and seven since 1998. But only once did they win it all, with a 1999 Class B state-championship team that went 23-0.

The tournament has been even tougher on the 19-time Section Four champion OHS girls, who have never won a state title. Not in 10 seasons with Jerry Mackey as head coach nor in the 30 seasons before that under his predecessor, Helen Sandford. To be fair, the girls state tournaments started a decade after Sandford became Oneonta’s first girls soccer coach. But 30 years is still a long time to go without.

“Not a lot of teams get to this stage,” said 26th-year OHS boys coach Alex Brannan, whose team won the Section Four Class B title last Saturday at the Wright National Soccer Campus with a 2-1 overtime defeat of Chenango Forks. “Yes, I’ve been there and it seems like we’re there every other year now. I bring a lot of players with me (to states) to give them a taste of it. They taste it and they want to get back there. They don’t like getting beat.”

OHS (13-4) will face Section Three champion Westhill (18-1) in a Class B state quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Liverpool High. The game will cap a state quarterfinal triple-header at Liverpool, which will host a Class D match between Margaretville and Watertown-IHC at noon and a Class C game between Lansing and Fabius-Pompey at 2:15 p.m.

Brannan said he scouted Westhill’s 2-1 victory over Skaneatles in the Section Three Class B final Tuesday, but he didn’t learn a whole lot about his next opponent.

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