VESTAL — One major hurdle was cleared Tuesday night and the potential for three more barriers await as Oneonta High chases that elusive first state title in girls soccer.
Facing a talented Bronxville squad that was every bit their match on a crisp but wind-free fall evening, the Yellowjackets got a goal from Taylor Hitchcock on a restart with 27 minutes, 54 seconds left in the first half to lift OHS to a 1-0 victory in a Class B state first-round game at Dick Hoover Stadium.
“Beating Bronxville any year is an accomplishment,” said senior midfielder Mariah Ruff, who assisted Hitchcock’s goal. “They’re a really great team. I feel like every year they come back even stronger. It’s crazy. Hopefully, it keeps going.”
This marked the third straight year Section Four champion Oneonta and Section One’s Bronxville have met in the state playoffs. The Broncos won two years ago, 1-0. Last year, OHS advanced in a penalty-kick shootout after the teams played to a 1-1 tie.
Next for the Yellowjackets (17-2-1) is another familiar squad, three-time reigning Section Nine champion Spackenkill (17-1-1). OHS defeated Spackenkill, 4-1, two years ago in a first-round state playoff game. The state quarterfinal will be played Saturday at Middletown High at a time to be announced.
“We were exhausted,” OHS coach Jerry Mackey said. “We have girls playing ridiculous amounts of minutes, but they have such depth to their heart and character. They represent the community of Oneonta and the district so well. It’s a great place to be and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The final numbers of eight shots for Bronxville to seven for Oneonta, with the Yellowjackets holding a 2-1 edge in corner kicks, accurately depict the back-and-forth nature of this one.
Oneonta’s goal came after Abby Picinich was tripped on the left side of the field. It gave the Yellowjackets a free kick from the left wing, about 8 yards from the end line.