ONEONTA – Those expecting Oneonta High’s girls to roll through Seton Catholic Central as they had their first six opponents of 2013 left surprised Tuesday.
Those expecting to see some daylight by game’s conclusion also departed the Wright National Soccer Campus with an unexpected outcome.
And anyone expecting the Southern Tier Athletic Conference game to be played to its scheduled ending … well, that didn’t happen either.
It ended in a 1-1 tie, with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left in the second overtime. By that point, it was so dark the officials had no choice but to end it. Rules call for girls teams to play two mandatory 10-minute overtimes.
It was 7:16 p.m. when it was called.
The Saints’ bus showed up about five minutes before the scheduled 5 p.m. start. It was close to 5:30 p.m. by the time it started.
“With Seton Catholic coming to Oneonta once every two years, it’s disappointing they can’t figure out some arrangement with the busing people,” OHS coach Jerry Mackey said. “They contract out (for busing). Even if we had lost, because Seton had some chances in overtime, too, the fact we can’t end overtime with two of the top teams in Class B playing because Seton can’t figure out how to get a bus here on time is disappointing.”
The teams, who’ve met in the last two Section Four Class B finals, had vastly different reactions at the end. The Saints celebrated and the Yellowjackets seemed dejected.
“I think we got caught off guard a little bit,” said OHS junior Taryn More, who scored her area-leading 12th goal of the season on a penalty kick with 19:38 left in the first half to give the Yellowjackets a 1-0 lead. “We haven’t really been challenged this year. All of a sudden, we’re having defenders on us quickly. I think we’re used to having more time to finish so I think that messed us up.”
While rolling to a 6-0 start this season, the Yellowjackets (6-0-1, 6-0-1) outscored their opponents, 46-1, and won each game by at least three goals.
Included in that start was an 8-0 win over Susquehanna Valley, a team that beat the Saints, 4-2, in SCC’s opener. Saints coach Kelly Vavalle said she didn’t have six of her players against SV.
It became apparent early on that the Yellowjackets would not have an easy time of it.
Though OHS had the better of play and wasted numerous scoring opportunities, it wasn’t anything close to dominant.
The Saints, who lost, 3-0, to the Yellowjackets in the 2011 sectional final and fell, 4-0, in overtime to OHS in last season’s Class B final, often were quicker to loose balls and did an excellent job of cutting off passing lanes.
“It was a little pin-bally,” Mackey said. “We’d play the ball to space and hope rather than adjust. Their sweeper moved back and I’m not sure we adjusted our passing angles.
“We have to decide individually if we want to get truly match fit or just talk about it,” he continued. “We have to get used to playing under pressure for 40 minutes a half. I’m confident we have enough leadership on our team to do that. If not, we can talk about what should have been or what could have been.”
Oneonta’s goal started with a free kick from the right side about 35 yards out. Mariah Ruff sent a ball into the middle of the box. It bounced around before Abby Picinich took a hard shot in the penalty box that hit off the hand of a Saints defender, setting up the penalty kick. More beat goalie Jessica Walter cleanly to the right side.
Later in the half, Nicole Harmer had possession on the left side of the box and played a ball out to an unmarked Ruff, but Ruff didn’t make good contact as the ball squirted way right.
More nearly had a goal late in the half, but her shot deflected off the crossbar. It came out to Harmer on the left side, but Harmer shot high to the near post.
Seconds into the second half, Brieanna Baker sent a pass to the right side of the box to More, whose shot to the near post was saved by Walter.
The Saints then generated a couple of solid chances, with Alysin Klock taking a 15-yard shot on a semi-breakaway that Maddie Grau saved and Genna Michitti shooting over the crossbar from the right side, that coming with 22:30 to play.
Baker then had a golden chance to make it a two-goal spread, using her speed to penetrate into right side of the box. She took a low shot that seemed destined for the far post, but Walter made a diving stop with 14 minutes left.
SCC tied the score with 9:26 remaining when Michaela Farrell dribbled about 40 yards up the left-middle of the field. OHS had two defenders near Farrell, but Farrell used some nifty footwork and split the defenders before sending a low 18-yard shot to the far post that just eluded a diving Grau.
“They accidentally did a toe poke or lunged a bit and she took that and went to goal,” Vavalle said. “It was an awesome goal.”
Added Mackey: “We’ll tip our cap to her. If in a month from now she can make the same move against our defense then they’re on to something. We gave her a good chance to look good and give her credit, she finished it and did what she’s supposed to. Hopefully, going forward that’s something we can shore up.”
With three minutes left in regulation, OHS’ Kendall Gillette received a pass from More but shot just over the crossbar from 15 yards.
Walter made another eye-opening save with seven minutes left in the second overtime. In near darkness, More took a shot from about 35 yards on the left side that was curling toward the far post, but Walter made a diving deflection before getting up and covering the rebound.
“She’s been with me for a while and she’s made so much progress,” Vavalle said of Walter, who finished with eight saves, two more than Grau. “She just did an amazing job out there today.”
Of the opportunities his team didn’t finish, Mackey said: “It’s easy when you have time and space, and obviously, this is the first opponent that took away and space.”
Oneonta 1, Seton CC 1
Seton0 1 0 0 – 1
Oneonta1 0 0 0 – 1
Seton Catholic Central: Michaela Farrell 1-0.
Oneonta (6-0-1, 6-0-1): Taryn More 1-0.
Shots-corner kicks: S 7-0; O 11-9.
Goalies: Jessica Walter (S) 8; Maddie Grau (O) 6.
Note: The game was called with 5:20 left in the second overtime because of darkness.
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.