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December 10, 2013

OHS girls, coach best in Class B

By Dean Russin Sports Editor
The Daily Star

---- — Jerry Mackey had no reason to be surprised.

Three weeks after Oneonta High won its first girls soccer state championship, the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports honored the Yellowjackets coach and two of his players as the best in Class B.

Mackey earned Class B Coach of the Year honors for OHS, which produced the co-Class B Players of the Year in junior forward Taryn More and senior midfielder Mariah Ruff.

It didn’t end there for the Yellowjackets, who also placed junior midfielder Madison Miller on the Second Team, sophomore midfielder Taylor Hitchcock on the Third Team and senior sweeper Meg Burns on the Fifth Team in Class B.

“It certainly wasn’t by accident,” Mackey said of Oneonta’s multiple all-state honors. “I’m glad to see a number of our girls were recognized, but our team got the ultimate prize.”

The prize, of course, was a 2-1 victory over Marcellus in the Class B state championship game Nov. 17 at Cortland State. Oneonta secured its first state title in the 40-year history of its program with the victory, which capped a 20-2-1 season and led to the No. 1 Class B ranking in the state in the NYSSCOGS final poll.

Asked if the NYSSCOGS got it right, Mackey said: “I think they did a great job correctly rewarding the girls who made our team go from really good to great. The five girls they acknowledged made impacts game-in and game-out for the entire course of the season.”

More led area girls in points this season with 66, complementing her team-best 19 goals with an area-high 28 assists.

“Taryn’s put a ton of time in and has competed at the highest levels, and certainly she’ll compete at high levels of college soccer,” Mackey said. “Once in a while, you’ll see someone kick it really clean. It’s a bigger story when she doesn’t strike the ball clean and where she wants it. You almost get spoiled to the point where you expect her to do it every time.”

Perhaps best known on the soccer fields for her lengthy, powerful throw-ins, Ruff finished in the top 13 among area girls with 36 points, on 14 goals and eight assists.

“Anybody who has seen her play, she jumps off the page at you for sure,” Mackey said of Ruff, a First Team all-state selection last season who will play Division I basketball at St. Bonaventure next year. “You hear about all the things she can do well, but when you see her play, it’s like, ‘Whoa!’ She plays soccer like she plays basketball. She plays the ball to space or leads the ball to space, so she has that same vision.

“We try to play to our strengths,” he continued. “And obviously, Taryn and Mar were tremendous strengths for us all year long.”

Miller scored 11 goals and assisted on two others for 24 points en route to her second straight Second Team all-state selection for the Jackets, who also won the Southern Tier Athletic Conference and Section Four Class B championships.

Hitchcock and Burns received their first all-state honors. Hitchcock had 44 points on 17 goals and 10 assists, and Burns anchored an OHS defense that helped produce 13 shutouts and allowed 13 goals the entire season.

“Until Taylor got injured, I don’t think anybody was playing as well as she was on our team or any other,” Mackey said. “And Meg really held us together all year long. She helped bring all of the other girls together on defense.”

The NYSSCOGS, in conjunction with the New York State Sports Writers Association, released the 2013 all-state girls soccer teams late Sunday night. Nine other area players received all-state honors, including two Third Team Class C selections for Midstate Athletic Conference champion Unatego.

Freshman forward Tanner Reed had 48 points on 22 goals and four assists for the Spartans (15-3-1), who received 36 points on 14 goals and eight assists from junior midfielder Torri Halaquist. The two helped Unatego to an appearance in the Section Four Class C championship game this past season.

Downsville sophomore forward Kaileen Townsend and Cherry Valley-Springfield senior forward Lauren Loucks highlighted the area Class D all-state selections with Second Team honors. A third-teamer last season, Townsend finished with 58 points on 26 goals and six assists for the Eagles. Loucks had 16 goals and nine assists for 41 points for the Patriots, who also placed senior forward Jordan Loucks (49 points, 18 goals, 13 assists) on the Fourth Team.

Class D third-teamers included junior forward Emilie Mertz of Section Four and Tri-Valley League champion Milford and senior forward-turned-goalie Jordan Beers of Franklin. Mertz had 26 points (10 goals, six assists) for the Wildcats — one point fewer than Beers (12 goals, three assists).

Joining Jordan Loucks on the Fourth Team in Class D were Milford sophomore forward Addy Lawson and Davenport senior foward Sarah Haight.

Lawson ranked third in area points with 50, on 23 goals and four assists. Haight was eighth among area girls with 43 points (18 goals, seven assists).

Haight’s all-state honor marked her fourth in a row. She made the Third Team in Class D last season, the First Team in 2011 and the Third Team in 2010.

Dean Russin can be reached at drussin@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.