The idea of using penalty kicks to decide deadlocked Maryland state soccer championship games is a big step closer to reality.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association soccer tournament committee yesterday approved a recommendation to change the format for state championship games that are tied after two 10-minute overtimes.

The proposed change calls for determining a single winner in a penalty-kick shootout, scrapping the current 24-year-old format in which co-champions are declared.

"I'm not sure it's something you go out and dance in the streets about, but it's something that's different," said Whitman boys' coach Dave Greene, who suggested the change.

"I'm fairly sure we'll reach the state final and lose on penalty kicks," Greene joked.

After the change was proposed at a meeting earlier this month, committee members polled coaches in their jurisdictions before voting yesterday. The change was approved 9 to 1 and will be submitted to the MPSSAA Board of Control for final approval at its meeting on April 27. Should the board approve the change, it would take effect in the fall.

State playoff games in rounds prior to the finals already can be decided by penalty kicks.

"There are no demands that are being made on anybody, so [the change] is probably one that I would think most people could probably support," MPSSAA Executive Director Ned Sparks said.

Tournament News Grace Brethren-Clinton captured the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference girls' title Saturday, snapping Covenant Life's 50-game league winning streak with a 52-43 win at Trinity College.

The Eagles (23-5) were led by freshman Andrea Jones, who scored 25 points and was named the game's most valuable player. Junior Jamea Rawles added 16 points. . . .

Also Saturday, the Colonial Beach boys' team (26-4) won the Delaney Athletic Conference tournament championship, beating Randolph-Macon Academy, 60-47.

Staff writer Preston Williams contributed to this report.