ONEONTA _ Seton Catholic Central goalie Bridget Miranda curled up on the sideline, facedown in the grass and gasping for air while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
Coaches and teammates rushed water, sopping-wet towels and an inhaler to Miranda, who cried as she struggled to catch her breath in the 90-degree heat Wednesday at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
Miranda faced 16 shots in a customary long-sleeved goalie jersey before collapsing a few feet away from the Saints' bench at halftime. Emergency workers later strapped her to a gurney before rushing her to A.O. Fox Hospital.
In the meantime, the Oneonta High girls soccer team took a lap around an adjacent field.
"I don't know if the heat just snuck up on her or what," said OHS coach Jerry Mackey, whose team scored six times in the first half of its 8-0 season-opening victory. "She faced a lot of shots in the first half."
Mackey didn't appear to be concerned about the heat. In addition to the extra lap at halftime, his Yellowjackets celebrated their rout of Southern Tier Athletic Conference East Division rival Seton with a series of postgame running drills.
"I feel like our girls do an amazing job of getting themselves into shape," said Mackey, whose team ended a 10-5-1 season last fall with a 1-0 loss to the Saints in a Section Four Class B Tournament quarterfinal. "We had the luxury of subbing more than they did in the first half, so I wasn't concerned about that part of it. ... I told the girls when they show up today, I don't want to hear a single thing about the heat. It's going to be hot for (Seton), too."
Conditioning seemed to be the difference Wednesday as OHS dominated by constantly attacking the Saints' net.
Karsen Shultz opened the scoring three minutes in, running through a corner kick from Sienna Wisse that deflected off the hands of Miranda at the near post. Eight minutes later, Dani Nicosia followed a lead-pass from Wisse for a goal that made it 2-0.
Newcomer Mariah Ruff, a freshman who transferred from Andes, converted a perfect pass to the far post from Alex Graig-Tiso for a 3-0 lead, and Nicosia placed a deep floater just under the crossbar and just above the hands of a leaping Miranda for a 4-0 advantage.
Shelby Cleaveland made it 5-0 with a long, high-bouncing shot to the far post before Cami Cleaveland capped the first-half scoring with a rebound goal off a long pass from Shultz. Her pass also deflected off the hands of Miranda, who was in goal because starting keeper Mary Continetti was absent.
Seton coach Kelly Vavalle, who jawed with Mackey about physical play in the second half, refused to comment on the game or her goalies. A woman working in the emergency room at A.O. Fox Hospital said via telephone Wednesday night that Miranda had been treated and released.
"We knew we were good, but we didn't know if we could take on the team that took us out of sectionals last year," said Shultz, who scored a team-best eight goals last season. "This was probably one of the key games of the season because we had to come in and just win. We had to win.
"This game wasn't exactly close, but I think it gave us a good idea of how it's going to be this season," she continued. "If we just lost to them, it clearly wasn't going to be a good season. We knew that if we didn't win this, it was going to be a tough season."
Mackey said the victory, which included second-half goals by Seneca Baldwin and Jen Jelic against Seton emergency goalie Nimrun Dhillon, was a good way to start the season.
"We were pretty crisp," said Mackey, whose team finished with advantages of 28-7 in shots and 8-0 in corner kicks. "We have a pretty good group as far as skill set and understanding the concepts. It's encouraging to see we can attack a couple of different ways. Last year, I thought we were all or nothing. This year, I think we have a little bit more in our tool chest and we've got some girls who can finish.
"I like it that this team is pretty mentally tough," he continued. "No matter what the result was, when you see those intangibles as a coach _ the flexibility, the covering for each other, the toughness, the not complaining _ you know you've got some pieces. If the breaks go like they can in soccer, this could be a really nice run."
ONEONTA 8, SETON 0
Seton Catholic 0 0 _ 0
Oneonta 6 2 _ 8
Seton Catholic Central: None.
Oneonta (1-0, 1-0): Dani Nicosia 2-0, Karsen Shultz 1-1, Mariah Ruff 1-0, Shelby Cleaveland 1-0, Cami Cleaveland 1-0, Seneca Baldwin 1-0, Jen Jelic 1-0, Sienna Wisse 0-2, Alex Graig-Tiso 0-1.
Shots-corner kicks: S 7-0; O 28-8.
Goalies: Bridget Miranda (S) 8, Nimrun Dhillon (S) 9; Emmalee Sloman (O) 6.
Dean Russin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.