When the Twinsburg girls soccer team lost 1-0 to Strongsville in a girls soccer state semifinal Tuesday, it appeared the Tigers’ season was over.
However, a discovery after the game called that result into question.
Twinsburg Superintendent Kathi Powers said Thursday she contacted the Ohio High School Athletic Association, saying there was video evidence Strongsville had 12 players on the field — one too many — during the final stretch of the game.
As a result, Powers asked the OHSAA to have Strongsville forfeit the game and advance Twinsburg to the state final.
“The reason I contacted them was we had a video. You’ll see that Strongsville had 12 girls on the field in the second half,” Powers said.
Strongsville is scheduled to play Beavercreek in the Division I state final at 7 p.m Friday at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.
Tim Stried, senior director of communications for the OHSAA, said via email that Twinsburg did not have the right to appeal.
“The OHSAA doesn’t allow protests or appeals of game results,” Stried said. “The score stands and officials’ decisions are final, but we are looking into the situation internally and will review all the details.”
Powers said she contacted OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass on Wednesday about the situation. She said Snodgrass’ response was that, per OHSAA bylaws, the decision of the game official is the final call and that as a member of the OHSAA, Twinsburg should not appeal the result.
In an email to the OHSAA on Thursday, Powers noted: “Strongsville gained a substantial advantage by having 12 athletes on the field resulting in two shots on a goal, a corner kick, and an indirect restart. In the NFHS Soccer Rules, rule 3 states that not more than 11 players should be on the field at any one time. Further, this imbalanced team significantly impacted our ability to potentially score a game tying goal during a six minute and 20 second stretch of game time [11:44 through 5:24 mark of the second half]. This is not a subjective argument regarding a foul or nor foul situation, but rather a clear violation of the rules [number of players on the field].”
In the email, Powers said, “If your decision is consistent to what we discussed last evening, namely, that a suggestion for recourse cannot be provided, please let me know what the process is for filing an appeal to the OHSAA Appeal Panel and whether the Appeal Panel has jurisdiction over this matter.”
In a second email Thursday, Powers outlined four possible violations of OHSAA rules regarding the substitutions.
“As a result, Strongsville should be deemed to have forfeited the contest on November 6, 2018 and Twinsburg’s Varsity Girls' Soccer Team should advance to the next round of the tournament,” Powers said in the second email
Powers also said she reached out to Strongsville City Superintendent Cameron Ryba, asking for Strongsville to forfeit the game based on the video evidence.
“When he called me, he said they had a chance to review the videos,” Powers said. “He said he did not see any malicious intent and that he was going to abide by any decision made by the OHSAA.”
Powers said she had discussed the matter with soccer coach John Garber, Athletic Director Brian Fantone and Twinsburg High School Principal Laura Hebert on Thursday. Powers said Thursday afternoon the district might contemplate further legal action.
“We’ve been getting some questions about whether to file an injunction in court,” Powers said. “If we were to file suit against them and lose, by their bylaws, the OHSAA may strip the girls of the regional championship and district championship. We want to do what’s best for the girls after this season.”