Autumn, the time when tie games count (or should)

Sidelines

October 16, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel's "county championship qualifying criteria" could be invoked to determine all four teams for Tuesday's boys and girls soccer championship doubleheader at Severna Park.

As things stand going into tonight and tomorrow's action, the North and South Division winners for boys and girls may well be decided by tie-breaking regulations.

Which means, once again the inequities of the county criteria are front and center. The rules were not written with soccer and field hockey in mind.

A victory by either North County (5-5-1) or No. 13-ranked Chesapeake (9-1-1) at 7 p.m. tonight in Lake Shore in boys North Division play would settle matters on the field. But if the two 4-0 teams tie, the matter will be decided by the tie-breaker -- same as is likely for the other three divisions.

Boys league

South Division: No. 10-ranked Arundel (11-1 overall) is3-1 in division play with Severna Park (7-5-1) at 3-0-1. If Severna Park wins at Broadneck (6-4-1, 2-2) tonight and Arundel tops visiting Annapolis (3-7-1, 0-4) tomorrow, Arundel will advance to the county championship game.

Tie-breaker step one to qualify is "most wins in the division," and at 4-1, Arundel and 4-0-1 Severna Park would be tied and would go to the second tie-breaker, "county league number of wins -- not percentage."

Arundel was 6-0 against the North and only lost to Severna Park, which would give the Wildcats 10 county league wins. Severna Park, 4-2 vs. the North, would finish with eight wins.

North Division: Host Chesapeake needs a win or tie tonight against North County to be Arundel's opponent in the county title game. North County must win. A win will give one or the other an outright berth at 5-0; the other would be 4-1.

A tie would leave them both 4-0-1, and moving to tie-breaker step two, Chesapeake (4-1-1 vs. South) has eight county-league wins to North County's four. The Knights did not win a game, although they tied South River, against the other side.

Girls league

South Division: No. 9 Severna Park (9-3-1) should win its final game tonight at Broadneck (1-8-3, 0-3-1), and if it does, would take the South by virtue of the fourth and final tie-breaker before a coin flip -- "head-to-head record."

Tuesday's 2-0 win over No. 8 South River (9-2) left the Falcons at 3-0-1 in division games and the Seahawks 3-1. South River hosts Southern (5-5-1, 0-3-1) tonight.

If both Severna Park and Southern win, they would be tied in division wins (four), county league wins (five), overall wins (10), but the Falcons would win the South because of their head-to-head victory.

North Division: With Old Mill (7-4) upsetting Chesapeake (9-3-1) by 2-1 on Tuesday, the Patriots moved into a 3-1 tie with the Cougars.

If Old Mill wins at home over Meade (1-8-1, 0-4) and Chesapeake at home over North County (2-8, 1-3) -- both games tonight -- Chesapeake will advance via tie-breaker step three, "number of wins overall, including tournaments."

Chesapeake (4-1-1 vs. South) and Old Mill (4-2) each won four cross-division games, but the Cougars would have the most wins overall -- 10 to 8.

Give points for ties

Now, notice that a tie means nothing. But ties matter in soccer and field hockey, and the county rules were written for the tie-less winter and spring sports (basketball, baseball, lacrosse, softball).

However, a point should be awarded for a tie and maybe two points for a win. That would mean, for example, that the Severna Park boys would win the South Division at 4-0-1 (nine points) over Arundel, 4-1 (eight points).

Some might say that's fair, because Severna Park did beat Arundel (1-0 last Friday). On the other hand, Arundel was 10-1 against the entire county, and Severna Park was 8-2-1.

As Charley Eckman used to say, "It's a very simple game" -- or it should be. Eliminate this tie-breaker stuff by going back to the old fashioned and proven way of counting all games -- best record in county games -- and give points for ties.

Going 10-1 against the whole county is more impressive than 4-0-1 against your division. It's also easier to understand.

Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline, 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 10/16/97

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