“It was a good challenge,” Miller said of the postseason. “It helped me get better, too. They were different types of good players. Plus, I had Shelby, Jen and Amy helping me out with them, too.”
At close to 6 feet, Miller specialized at winning balls in the air.
She also struck a seemingly perfect balance between being aggressive and playing positional defense. She had enough speed to stay with fleet-footed standouts, and enough size and strength to stop bigger forwards.
“She’s technically sound, strong enough to win 50-50 balls and hold her position, and she was always on balance,” Mackey said. “That’s one of the reasons she won so many balls in the air. She could play physical without fouling and was quick enough contain to faster players. She doesn’t go outside her comfort level and she’s always in the right spot.”
Under Mackey’s leadership in the postseason, the Yellowjackets won one game in overtime, another in a penalty-kick shootout, another, 1-0, and held a one-goal lead late in the state final before falling to Greece Odyssey.
He stressed conditioning, as evidenced by the line sprints OHS ran following games.
“He’s a great motivator,” Miller said of Mackey. “He really pushes you to be your best and he genuinely cares about all of us.”
Added Ruff: “Mackey is really hard on us. We ran like 15 miles a day. Some days, we wouldn’t even practice. It was just running, but everybody wanted to be there. That helped us make states and helped us make history.”
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.