McKINNEY – Three second-half goals by Little Elm were too much for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats to overcome Tuesday night in their 4-1 loss in the bi-district soccer playoffs match.
Little Elm’s Abigail Buliga scored twice and assisted on another goal and the Lady Lobos limited SSHS to just four shots on goal to end the Lady Cats’ season at 17-4-2.
Buliga scored the game’s only first-half goal at the 16:30 mark when she ran onto a ball sent ahead by a teammate and powered it past SSHS goalie Emily Hurley, who had to come off her line to stop the attack, from about 20 yards out.
It was the fourth of five first half shots on goal by the Lady Lobos, who kept continuous pressure on the Sulphur Springs’ defensive line of Kinzi Irving, Hattie Schulz, Sha’nequa Cash, Mary McMillan and Iris Gutierrez with their attacking style. Gutierrez was injured 10 minutes into the game and taken by ambulance to a McKinney hospital with a rib injury.
Meanwhile, the Lady Cats had just one shot on goal in the first half, a 30-yard free kick by senior Madison Ramirez that excited the home crowd when it appeared at first to have snuck under the cross bar, but in fact barely went over the bar with 27:30 to play.
The Lady Cats were unable to match Little Elm’s offense in the second half when Allyna Jones maneuvered her way downfield and punched a shot into the back of the net just 75 seconds into the half. That followed six minutes later with a goal from Bethel Chibesa off an assist from Buliga, and finally Buliga hit a scorching 35-yard shot into the top corner of the goal with 17:27 to play that gave Little Elm a 4-0 lead.
Sulphur Springs, which was limited to one shot on goal through the first 65 minutes of the contest, continued to play hard throughout the game, resulting in goal with 15:51 to go when Grace Grafton crossed a pass from the right side that grazed the goal and ended up at the feet of Ramirez, who knocked it through to cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Lady Cats had two more shots on goal in the final 10 minutes, a 30-yard free kick by Ramirez, which was caught by the Little Elm keeper, Steisy DeLeon, and an attempt from 30 yards away by Miranda Pierce that was smothered by DeLeon with five minutes left.
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