Northern Durham and Jordan weren’t able to settle it in regulation and a new rule implemented by the PAC-6 prevented them from settling it overtime — at least in this match — so the match ended in a 1-1 tie on Thursday night at Jordan.
In the past, all PAC-6 games that were tied at the end of regulation went to overtime with the hopes of producing a winner. But starting last fall with boys’ soccer and carrying over to the girls’ spring season, the conference adopted a change allowing for ties when teams meet for the first time.
In the second meeting of the season, games will be played out if there is a tie at the end of regulation.
The change was made to help teams with their winning percentage, which is a key component for playoff consideration, according to Jordan athletics director Shelba Levins.
On Thursday night, Levins rushed out to midfield to let the game officials know about the rule just before the teams were about to kickoff overtime. There were a few puzzled fans who lobbed questions at the referee and linesmen as they walked off the field. But they didn’t respond.
Levins said this change should help teams from the PAC-6 later in the year when they’re getting ready for the playoffs.
“There have been some instances where teams have had to play a third game and it really hurt the team that lost,” Levins said. “The change was made to avoid that if we could.”
Previously, if there was a tie in the conference standings and the teams had split their regular-season matches, a tie-breaker game was required. That extra game is counted by the N.C. High School Athletic Association and the losing team was hurt by virtue of having an extra loss. It also was sometimes hard to work in the extra game between the end of the regular season and the reporting date for the playoffs, according to Levins.
The outcome of this match harmed neither Jordan (1-3-1, 1-0-1 PAC-6) nor Northern (3-2-1, 2-0-1), who each have not yet lost in the conference.
“I am proud of my team,” said first-year Northern coach Josh MacIver. “We knew coming in here was going to be tough. It was a good game. Conference games are always tough.”
Jordan seemed to have the upper hand for most of the game, playing almost exclusively on its attacking end. The Falcons were positionally strong but had no goals to show for it in the first half.
Northern struck first with a swift counterattack midway through the first half. Callie Hammond gave Northern the lead with a goal after getting the ball after a nifty pass through Jordan’s defense.
“We knew this was going to be hard game even though their record isn’t the best,” Hammond said. “Jordan is tough and they’re tough competitors. It was nice to get the first goal.”
A minute later later, Northern almost struck again as Serenity Ellis boomed a shot off the crossbar. A goal there would have changed the game completely, Hammond said.
“The game would have been totally different if we had gotten that on,” Hammond said. “I think it would have won it for us. She had a really good shot.”
In the second half, Jordan finally tied the game at 1-1 on a Riley Ferguson goal.
Jordan coach Mary Napier said her team did a good job bouncing back from giving up the first goal and that she felt the momentum was in their favor.
“We had some good fortune tonight,” Napier said. “Our defense gave up a couple of lucky balls to Northern but luckily for us they weren’t able to capitalize on them. And it seemed like we had a ton of chances we weren’t able to capitalize on either. I think the score showed it was a draw tonight.”
While Jordan kept the pressure on, it was Northern that almost took the lead again with opportune shots. It had another shot bounce off the upright and then Jordan goalkeeper Lyse Rochleder snuffed out Northern’s final thrust with a save in the last minute.
“We didn’t want to end in a tie but it’s better than a loss,” Napier said. “We’ll take it. Lyse really stepped up for us, too.”