Overtime will look a little different when it comes to postseason play for soccer this year, as the TSSAA Board of Control voted on Wednesday to change the extra periods.
This past season, if the score was tied at the end of regulation, teams would play two 10-minute periods. If the score remained even, the squads then took part in two five-minute golden goal (or sudden death) periods, where a score automatically meant the end of the contest.
Those golden goal periods will no longer exist after Wednesday’s vote. Instead, if the teams remained tied at the end of the two 10-minute periods, the contest will then move straight ahead into penalty kicks. That’s where the matchup will be decided.
“It usually came down to player safety,” said THS Head Boys Coach Richie Chadwick. “That’s 10 more minutes that a player won’t get hurt. The only thing that I hate is that it takes away that sudden victory goal. It’s kind of a tradeoff.”
It may be a small change, but over the last 20 years, Tullahoma has had its fair share of dealings with the golden goal periods, some good and some it would love to forget. In 2003, Lady Wildcat Laken Barnes (now Grizzard) scored a game-winning goal against Oak Ridge that sent the Lady Wildcats into the TSSAA State Semifinals.
“Imagine if we didn’t have that rule? We would have been going into PKs,” Chadwick said. “Who knows how it would have turned out?”
The Tullahoma girls team added another important golden goal victory a year later in 2004 against Siegel in the region tournament. On the flip side though, the Wildcats’ team hasn’t been as lucky, losing a pair of heartbreakers.
In a 2005 playoff game, the Wildcats saw one of the most historic seasons end to Warren County. Eight years later in a district semifinals game, Tullahoma dropped a home heartbreaker in Columbia Central in 2013.
“I can see the pros and cons,” Chadwick said. “Really the biggest con is taking away that sudden-victory opportunity. But, it comes down to player safety. I think they are thinking that after 100 minutes, lets prevent somebody from getting injured.
“A lot of times, the most vicious hits come from unsportsmanlike plays. But sometimes, it’s just because the players are tired… When it comes down to safety and emotion, safety is going to win.”