Ask Miller the secret behind shutting down high-scoring forwards and you’ll immediately hear about fellow defenders Shelby Cleaveland, Amy Hait and Jennifer Jelic, and goalie Emmalee Sloman supporting her in the back.
Talk to Ruff about initiating offense from the midfield or her long throw-ins that led to numerous scoring chances, and she’ll bring up the speed of Brieanna Baker or the skill of Cami Cleaveland, More and Nicosia, and how those players made it easy for her.
“It’s a team sport, so I’m more concerned with how the team is doing,” Miller said. “I’m glad the team gets recognized. It’s not about personal achievement.”
Added Ruff: “I’m not that much of a soccer player. I felt like we ran the field well and I had tons of time (to read the defense). I had just had to find the open person.”
When Ruff says she’s not much of a soccer player, it’s only in relation to her abilities on a basketball floor. She recently made a verbal commitment to attend Division I St. Bonaventure on a basketball scholarship.
Many of the skills she uses as a top-flight point guard during the winter are also on display during the fall.
“She has that calmness,” Mackey said of Ruff. “She has trust in her ability and trust in her teammates. She plays aggressively and calmly, and that’s a tough line to walk.”
Ruff earned First Team all-state honors in Class B in soccer and basketball this past academic year, something Mackey said he couldn’t recall another OHS player doing.
“It’s hard enough to do it in one sport,” Mackey said. “The thing is, she’s clearly a First Team pick in both sports and it’s a no-brainer — no doubt about it. That level of dominance is rare. It’s a testament to her athletic ability, skill level, desire and time management. That’s a lot of prep time. There are 80 minutes in a soccer game and 32 minutes in basketball. To see that kind of commitment is great for younger kids and it’s still being done within the team concept.”