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Schools of Thought: No, no — the game’s not over

October 27, 2008
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

It makes sense, but some stubborn part of me still doesn't like it.

My most recent run-in with one of my least-favorite rules was Oct. 20 at Knox Field.

The game went scoreless into overtime. Neither Broadalbin-Perth's nor Johnstown's girls had been able to score for 80 minutes. Then, the Lady Patriots pushed a goal into the net.

If there were no ladies on the field, if the boys were in competition that night, the game would have ended with a golden goal. B-P, the first team to score in overtime, would have been the victor.

Not so, however. This is girls' soccer. The rules are different.

In girls' soccer in New York State, both 10-minute overtime periods are played in full, regardless of any or no scoring.

Johnstown scored soon after and the game ended in a tie.

I've always hated the rule. Then I found out why they have it.

Now I understand the rule and believe it makes sense, but I can't get over it.

Nina VanErk, the executive director for the state athletic association, said in April the association got the boys' and girls' statewide soccer committees together and asked them to consider uniform policies for the sport.

"The boys' and girls' committees agreed on many things, but one issue was the overtime procedures," VanErk said. "The committees made substantial arguments supporting their opinions. In May, the NYSPHSAA executive committee approved the differences."

I can't fault the association for approving the overtime difference, either.

Galway's Deb Wilday is the girls' soccer representative for Section II and was at the meeting. She said the members of the girls' committee believed they had to keep the two overtimes in full.

Here's their reasoning:

When soccer playoffs start, so does the bad weather. It gets windy, it gets wet. Heavy wet.

In ideal conditions, many varsity girls' goalkeepers are unable to reach the crossbar when they jump. In ideal conditions, a shot to the top 10 percent is likely a goal.

Add wind and muck.

In those conditions, the team with the wind has a decided advantage, especially when considering some defenses are not strong enough to clear the ball into the wind.

It makes sense, then, to give both teams even time with the wind.

Now, not all playoff games are played in adverse conditions, but you can't have one rule for poor weather and one for good weather. Also, you can't have one rule for playoffs and one for the regular season.

So the rule should stay.

The Section II rep for the boys said weather is less of a problem for the guys. They keep the golden goal. The sudden death.

I will never cave to the P.C. population and call it sudden victory. It is and always has been sudden death.

As Wilday said, the boys' game is more about speed and power and the girls' game is more about finesse, being patient and getting that one good through pass and that one good run.

The games being played this week and last, played in - trust me - sometimes horrible weather are the most important of the season. To have them decided by a wind-blown goal when the other team doesn't get the benefit of the wind would run contrary to the nature of athletic competition.

"We lost to the wind," would be the excuse - and a good one - of the vanquished.

The rule ensures the team moving on had to earn it.

I like that.

But for some unexplainable and illogical reason, I still hate it.

 
 

 

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