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THE HIGH SCHOOLS / PAIGE A. LEECH

A Championship Match Is Never Fit to Be Tied

March 06, 1994|PAIGE A. LEECH

It's a ridiculous way to determine a champion. In fact, it doesn't even determine one. It determines two.

When teams play for a title, the game isn't over until there is a winner and a loser. A champion and a runner-up. Period.

Apparently the world of soccer has a more egalitarian view.

Moorpark and Calabasas highs played to a 1-1 tie Friday in a Southern Section Division V final and were declared co-champions.

Come on. Co-championships are so . . . unresolved.

To the victor goes the spoils. Now, that's the spirit. None of this sharing stuff in a championship. It's ludicrous.

It is the ninth boys' soccer co- championship since section title matches began in 1964. By now, section officials should have figured out a more decisive tiebreaker scheme.

Ask Moorpark Coach Michael Scanlon, who watched his top-ranked Musketeers play more aggressively than Calabasas, only to finish with a tie.

"I think these boys would have rather played until they dropped," Scanlon said. "I know my guys would have."

After regulation play, the teams were deadlocked, 1-1. They played two 10-minute overtime periods, but remained tied. Interestingly, from this point on, tiebreakers differ in preliminary-round playoff matches from the championship match.

In preliminary-round playoff matches, teams play two 10-minute sudden-death periods after the two 10-minute overtime periods. Then, if the teams remain tied, penalty kicks determine a winner in all Southern Section playoff games except the final.

"I don't think a championship should ever be determined on penalty kicks, because then you're just a champion of penalty kicks," Scanlon said.

However, Scanlon would have liked to play the sudden-death periods in the championship match. And there is no reason not to play sudden death.

But after 100 minutes of soccer Friday, there was no loser, only two champions. Sort of.

While Calabasas players openly relished the co-championship, the Musketeers, who had previously beaten and tied Calabasas in Frontier League play, hung their heads in disappointment.

"If you would have walked on the field, you would have thought we lost," Scanlon said.

A sportswriter counted 18 shots on goal by Moorpark and three by Calabasas. Moorpark's statistician had a 26-8 count. But the match isn't won by shots on goal any more than a baseball game is won by the number of runners to reach base.

"Soccer is unique in that you can defend and defend and defend--or else you can go out and try to win it," said Scanlon, summing up the two teams' approaches.

The absurdity of the co-championships is clear when one considers that the Valley region had not produced a Southern Section soccer champion since Harvard won the small schools division in 1990. Now the region features two champions . . . but just one title.

*

Tale of twos: The Harvard-Westlake and Burroughs highs boys' soccer teams each played without two of their best players in Division III semifinal matches last week.

The results, however, differed drastically.

Without junior midfielders Brian Angelini (suspended for receiving two yellow cards in the previous match) and Warren Davidoff (sprained ankle), Harvard-Westlake (20-5-3) lost to Bell Gardens, 1-0, in Studio City.

Burroughs--without top players Anthony Perico (broken leg) and Juan Almaguer (sprained ankle)--defeated Brea-Olinda, 2-0, to advance to the Division III final.

*

Buena is bueno: Now that the Buena girls' basketball team has made it to five consecutive Southern Section finals--winning twice--people are coming out of nowhere to claim a small portion of the credit. Buena defeated Mater Dei, 50-41, Friday night for its second consecutive Division I-A title. With only two seniors on this season's squad, the Bulldogs are likely to be a force for years to come. The future is freshman Nicole Greathouse, a 6-foot-1 center and the first off the bench for the Bulldogs, who will continue their quest for a state title with regional playoffs this week.

Before Greathouse honed her basketball skills on the Ventura Stars youth team, she took her initial instruction from the son of her baby-sitter, Jim Friery, who is now the Van Nuys baseball coach. "I think I was the first one to teach her how to dribble," said Friery, rather coyly.

Greathouse went to Jean Friery's home for day care for several years in her youth. One day Jim Friery instructed a 6-year-old Greathouse to dribble the ball once and stop. Twice and stop. Three times and stop, and so on.

Greathouse, averaging 9.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, was thoroughly engrossed by her new drill and dribbled all the way home, according to Friery. Later that evening, Friery and his mother received a call from an excited Greathouse. "She went from three (bounces) to 500 in one afternoon," Friery said. "She was such a dedicated player--even at that age."

Greathouse continues to improve by leaps and bounds, according to Buena Coach Joe Vaughan.

"She's about a year and half away from playing like Michelle Giordano," Vaughan said.

Quite a compliment considering Giordano has committed to Arizona and averages 17.9 points a game.

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