While Hornell is making its first appearance in the state semifinals, the Yellowjackets have been here before. That includes last season, when Section Five’s Greece Odyssey rallied to beat OHS, 3-1, in overtime in the Class B state final.
Oh, by the way, Hornell knocked off Greece Odyssey in the Section Five Class B final, 1-0, on a goal by Acor.
The Yellowjackets’ soccer program is 40 years old. Helen Sandford guided OHS the first 30 years, winning 15 sectional titles and advancing to the state finals twice, in 2000 and 2003. Mackey took over in 2004 and has steered OHS to four sectional titles, including the past three seasons, and state finals appearances in 2004 and 2012.
Breaking through for that first state title will start with slowing Acor, who also had Hornell’s goal in the Red Raiders’ 1-1 tie against Section Six’s Akron during last weekend’s state quarterfinals. Hornell advanced to the semis by winning a penalty-kick shootout. Mackey said his defensive alignment will call for one-and-a-half defenders to be assigned to Acor, a fourth-year varsity player.
In addition to Acor, Hornell has received 13 goals and 12 assists from senior Emily Wolf, eight goals from senior Allison Henby, and five goals and nine assists from sophomore Jocelyn Brittingham.
“It’s all about pushing players to the outside and now allowing any front cuts,” said senior sweeper Burns, who’s helped the Yellowjackets shut out their last six opponents.
Offensively, OHS has relied on numerous contributors.
Junior Taryn More has team highs of 19 goals and 25 assists, including a goal in the Yellowjackets’ 2-0 state quarterfinal victory over Spackenkill last Saturday.
Sophomore Taylor Hitchcock has scored in Oneonta’s last three games, but she suffered a severe left ankle injury in Oneonta’s win over Spackenkill. Mackey said Wednesday that Hitchcock has a chance of playing this weekend. She has 17 goals and 10 assists.