ONEONTA _ Normally, when the word the pop is associated with Oneonta High senior Lindsey Doxtader, it's in reference to the audible thud that occurs when a soccer ball makes contact with either of her feet.
Unfortunately for the Yellowjackets, the pop Doxtader heard in her left knee last Friday during a scrimmage at Shenendehowa ended her season. The Daily Star's Player of the Year in 2007 tore the ACL in her left knee _ an injury that will keep off a soccer field for at least the next six to seven months.
Doxtader, a standout sweeper who earned first-team all-state honors in Class A last season, donned her familiar No. 6 jersey during OHS' 2-1 Southern Tier Athletic Conference loss to Maine-Endwell on Wednesday, but her contributions this season will be limited to encouraging her teammates.
Worse yet, Yellowjackets coach Jerry Mackey said the injury came as a result of a "cheap shot."
Oneonta was scrimmaging Stillwater last Friday at Shenendehowa and Doxtader stole the ball from an opposing player.
"(Doxtader) was dribbling away and the girl came from behind and blatantly came _ ticked off _ and tackled her from behind," Mackey said. "Lindsey went down and heard a pop.
"She's basically played every minute at sweeper the past three seasons and she's first-team all-state for a reason," he continued.
A pint-sized defender at 5-foot-4, Doxtader's speed, powerful kicks and aggressive play last season helped the Jackets to a 14-3-1 season that included a STAC Central Division title.
M-E coach Chris Holleran said Doxtader's omission from Wednesday's game played a role in the outcome.
"She's an all-state player," Holleran said. "When I saw her in a leg brace, I was told she was out for the season. It's very unfortunate. She definitely would have made a big difference in that game, without a doubt. I'm sure it's killing her just watching from the sidelines."
Doxtader said she'll meet with a surgeon Friday.
Following last season, Doxtader said she had received interest from Division II schools The College of Saint Rose and Le Moyne, and added Wednesday she still plans on playing next year.
"Sometimes, (the injury) takes up to a year to get to 100 percent, but I'm going to work really hard to get back," she said.
As for the impact on the Yellowjackets, Mackey said it's twofold. Not only is Doxtader is out, but junior Nora Walker, who had been slated to return to her starting midfielder position, has been forced to fill Doxtader's void at sweeper.
"It's not even a situation of just Nora adjusting," he said, "it's all of us adjusting to hearing the same voice, angles being different and quite honestly, losing Nora out of the midfield out front is a blow, because she's a fourth-year varsity player."
At times Wednesday, Doxtader looked more like OHS' coach than Mackey. In a crouched position along the sidelined, she bellowed instructions to teammates.
"I'm just trying to stay positive and keep the team upbeat," Doxtader said, "and help on the sideline as much as I can. They know they can do it. We did well today. We could have beaten M-E."
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.