Technology High School of Rohnert Park and Sonoma Academy played tough Thursday afternoon at an away conference game, yet despite a hard fought fixture ended the game with a goose egg draw at 0-0.
Most of the action on the pitch was in Sonoma Academy territory but between the host team’s defense and a few wide kicks, Technology couldn’t get the ball in the box. Sonoma Academy struggled to put the ball in Tech’s goal as well, although they also had some good opportunities. Nevertheless, each team played with enthusiasm, ramping up the competition in the final minutes in a last full steam attempt to put numbers on the board making for a very respectable effort.
Friday is the final game of Technology High’s season with a match against Rincon Valley Christian school. Tech is already above 500, the first time ever the boys’ team will qualify to apply to participate in the playoffs. A win over the Eagles will increase their chances.
“Looking at it right now I think we’ll get the eleventh or twelfth seed, I’m not really sure, it would be our first time making playoffs for the boys so we’ll take whatever seed they’ll give us,” says Scott McKeon, Athletic Director for Tech and Rancho Cotati High Schools.
And this year, for the Fall sports, even teams below a 500 record cutoff will be allowed to apply to participate in the playoffs.
The announcement posted a week ago on the North Coast Section website and states, “After an emergency meeting of the NCS Executive Committee on 10/20, there has been a moratorium on NCS Bylaw 504H.f for all 2017 fall sports, due to the overwhelming Northern California fires and subsequent loss of games. This means that any fall soccer school (regardless if its record is sub-.500) may apply for the NCS fall soccer playoffs.”
This is important news for schools affected by the recent fire disaster.
“We have three ways that teams can qualify when we have the ‘even record rule’: it’s overall record, or it’s record in league, or it’s record in division,” says Gil Lemmon, Commissioner of Athletics at North Coast Section.
But for this year, NCS waived the rule, also known as the ‘500 record requirement.’ For fall sports only, any teams that apply won’t be subject to that rule. As an example, if Technology were not already at 500, and they were to lose Friday night they’d still be eligible to apply for the playoffs.
To be clear, the NCS committee is not expanding the brackets, they will still have sixteen teams. But now, with the 500 record requirement waived, it gives schools below a 500 record who choose to apply a chance at getting into the playoffs.
Normally, the decision of playoff participants is made by a committee, not a computer. These individuals look at overall record, league record, record within their division, and they also look at their strength in the school schedule. “It’s criteria we’ve had for many years,” says Lemmon.
“As commissioner, I was very proud of our executive committee. I felt that they made a decision to be inclusive and to allow a maximum amount of participation during a real difficult time when we would not want to be restricting the participation in a championship. By not having it we’re allowing some schools to go forward that had games cancelled or they couldn’t play because other schools couldn’t play,” Lemmon explained of this change in NCS league play.
“And it very well could have had an effect on whether their schools qualified or not. The executive committee and North Coast Section staff are not saying that schools should apply – they make those decisions – that’s up to them. We’re not going to have a road block in their way… when so many schools have been affected by not being able to play contest.”
But even if they didn’t waive the 500 record requirement Tech would still be eligible, but won’t know if they’ll be selected until Sunday after NCS has made their determinations.
McKeod says, “Their record is a good reflection of the hard work and commitment that the boys have put in over the last four years. They have a good solid core group of seniors who have shown leadership. We have a brand new coach, Fatima Worden who has done a great job instilling discipline and technique, not one person is more important than the team. She’s all about sharing the ball and winning as a team rather than individuals. Things are looking really good.”