To peruse the offensive numbers produced by Mariah Ruff and Madison Miller during the 2012 girls soccer season, one might think their contributions to one of the best seasons in Oneonta High history were paltry.
In this case, the numbers are big, fat liars.
Ruff’s athleticism and vision in the midfield combined with Miller’s ability to make the opponent’s best offensive player appear to be a late-season JV call-up provided the substance to an 18-3-1 season that was merely minutes away from the program’s first state championship.
Oh, there was plenty of that provided by offensive standouts such as Cami Cleaveland, Dani Nicosia and Taryn More — all Daily Star First Team All-Star selections.
But Ruff and Miller, The Daily Star’s co-Players of the Year for girls soccer, proved that goal prevention and possession hold the same importance as scoring goals.
Ruff finished with six goals and 12 assists — solid but not the stats Daily Star Player of the Year recipients normally compile. As for Miller, she finished the season with four goals and two assists. Again, nothing Earth shattering.
Yet, to watch a Yellowjackets game this past fall, one couldn’t help but notice their various contributions to Oneonta’s success.
“Madison matched up with high-level forwards and held them to a stalemate,” said OHS coach Jerry Mackey, The Daily Star’s Coach of the Year for the second straight season and third time overall. “She took away the other team’s best option. Mariah, who was usually playing defensive midfielder, was always winning 50-50 balls.”
Still, there’s one aspect to Ruff — heading into her senior season — and Miller — who’ll start her junior year in September — that goes beyond anything they accomplished on the field, and that’s their ability to deflect credit.