Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

This Is Bittersweet Tie to Wear

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

This Is Bittersweet Tie to Wear

Article excerpt

OAKLAND - No one really likes ties in soccer. But the truth is, no one has a better solution.

Saturday's Bergen County girls soccer final was a showcase of how good high school girls soccer can be. There were two teams on the field, Northern Highlands and Immaculate Heart, who could very easily finish with state championship trophies in a few weeks. They played hard for 100 minutes. The Highlanders were coming in with a state record 65-game winning streak.

The final also was a showcase of what some would call soccer's biggest flaw. No winner. The 1-1 tie means both teams are county champions, but aren't satisfied.

"It's bittersweet," said Blue Eagles junior Alexandria Mesropyan. "I'm glad we ended the record, but sharing the title? I'm sure no one wants to share a title. I think we both fought hard and we left it all on the field and that's it."

"I'm not a fan of ties, I have an unsettled feeling in my stomach right now," said Highlanders junior Hana Kerner. "I don't really know how to feel about it. We still got the championship. It is what it is. It's not much we can do about it."

Even the final seconds of the game were unusual. Kerner was 30 yards away from goal about to make one last attack at the IHA defense when the whistle blew, sending heads turning toward the referee.

Can you imagine in a tie basketball game, a referee stopping the game with a shot in air, saying it's over, let's all go home?

What about in football? A team drives to the 10-yard line about to score, gets off the play and suddenly the game is called?

Ramapo girls soccer coach Paul Heenehan has seen it all in his career, including various attempts to break ties. He remembers seeing a player on each side in a championship game come off the field every five minutes in overtime clearing the way for a goal. He also remembers how some championships are decided by playing the game all over again - the Bergen County boys soccer final used to have that rule in case of a tie in its final.

He said it comes up almost yearly in the Bergen County Women's Coaches Association meetings: find a new way. But who really wants to see a county title decided by penalty kicks? …

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