STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- The Strongsville High School girls soccer team played for the state championship Friday night, but there is a cloud of controversy hanging over the Lady Mustangs. Parents of the players that lost the game, the Twinsburg Lady Tigers, believe they were cheated out of a chance to win, but the school has decided it will not fight the outcome of the game.
The referees did not notice it, but in the second half of the state semi-final soccer game between Strongsville and Twinsburg, Strongville sent an extra player into the game after an injury time out, and for more than six minutes, the lady mustangs had 12 players on the field to 11 for Twinsburg.
Strongsville won the game to advance to the state championship. After watching video of the game, Twinsburg lodged a complaint with the state athletic association, but the district was careful not accuse their opponent of cheating.
Strongsville said the use of the extra player was a mistake and there was no malicious intent.
When Twinsburg learned that the state would not force Strongsville to forfeit the game, the district did consider taking legal action, but the athletic staff vetoed the idea, when they learned that if Twinsburg lost in court, the state could strip the Tigers of their district and regional championships.
During a September 2017 game between Strongsville and arch rival Medina, the game was stopped in the second half, when it was discovered that the Lady Mustangs had 12 twelve players on the field. The Medina coach, who indicated he has never used an extra player by accident or on purpose in 18 years of coaching, told FOX 8, "the referee removed the extra player, issued a yellow card and the game was restarted. We chalked it up as an oversight."
The Twinsburg School District is now hoping the state athletic association will examine whether the extra player on the pitch for Strongsville in at least two games is a coincidence or a strategy.
The Strongsville Mustangs lost the state championship to Beavercreek, 4-2.
The Strongsville Athletic Boosters wish to congratulate the Lady Mustangs aka the 2018 Ohio High School Athletic Association Girls Soccer Division I STATE RUNNERS UP! Great season ladies and can’t wait until next year!! #GoMustangs 🐎⚽️💚 pic.twitter.com/fweaukKZpX
— StrongsvilleBoosters (@VilleBoosters) November 10, 2018