This sets up a situation where head-to-head, the teams are 1-1. The goal difference is 2 in each game, and each has given up the same amount of goals to each other.
In soccer, there are only 3 teams in each division (Oxford, Saltillo, and the other is West Point). West Point is so terrible at soccer that both Oxford and Saltillo have not allowed a goal to them so far and won big (Saltillo won 12-0, Oxford 8-0).
Currently, Oxford & Saltillo are 2-1, West Point is 0-2. Both Oxford and Saltillo have yet to face West Point a second time.
Should Oxford & Saltillo go 3-1 and each post a shutout and win by at least 3, they will have to go to a tiebreaker.
I talked about tiebreakers at the end of football season, so you should know the drill but I will explain each one anyways.
- Step 1 is head-to-head (both are 1-1, doesn't work).
- Step 2 is how tied teams did against highest ranked teams in the division (Only other team is West Point, both went 2-0, doesn't work).
- Step 3 is point difference ONLY involving the tied teams (both Oxford & Saltillo beat one by 2 and lost the other by 2, doesn't work).
- Step 4 is point difference in division games among the highest ranked teams in the division (again, this applies to only games against West Point - there is a maximum point difference of just 3 in soccer, so both would go +6 if both win by at least 3 against West Point again in their second meeting, if so, this doesn't work either).
- Step 5 is fewest points allowed in all division games - no maximum points (Oxford & Saltillo gave up 5 to each other, so it would come down to goals allowed against West Point - so far, both have pitched shutouts. If both give up the same amount of goals to West Point - i.e. both pitch another shutout, both give up 1 goal, etc... - then this tiebreaker also doesn't work).
If steps 1-5 do not work to break the tie, Step 6 is that the two schools involved flip a coin.
That's right, Oxford and Saltillo will have to flip a coin to be the 1-seed and win the division via tiebreaker.
In soccer, that should not happen especially since there are other ways to break a tie like this. Find a way to get the teams together and do a best-of-5 Penalty Kicks, do a short 20 minute 'sudden-death' 'golden goal' game, make it decided on the field.
This is the first time since arriving at Oxford High School nearly 10 years ago that a tiebreaker has to be broken by the 'coin flip' step. The last possible step to break a tie. Before this, Step 3 is usually as far as ties go to break the tie.
I remember watching a movie (Friday Night Lights) where a 3-way tie went all the way to a coin flip - naturally the team featured in the movie wins the flip. It is usually conducted at a secret location so that there is not a big crowd surrounding the spot.
I know if all else fails that a coin flip is the only way to break a tie. In soccer though, you can break the tie without ever getting to the coin flip step. Penalty kicks do not take but 5-10 minutes at the most. Get the teams together, find a neutral spot and do kicks from the mark. That is how it is done in youth tournaments today.
I would love it if the MHSAA could conduct different tiebreakers for different sports. Soccer is a good sport to not have to come to the coin flip and can be decided on the field. I could see football and baseball having no other choice, Basketball you could do a 4-minute period inside a neutral gym.
However, that would probably not go well with the MHSAA as that would get kids out of school or at least disturb some of the student's study plans for that day. I do not believe the tiebreaker method will not change because of the low popularity of girls high school soccer in the state of Mississippi.
Well, this is one of the reasons I write a blog - to complain - and complaining usually doesn't do any good. So good luck to Oxford - literally - in their quest to win the division. You could always say it should never come to this anyways.