Lady Cats stay unbeaten in district
By KORTNEY STAGEBERG | News-Telegram Correspondent

Feb. 20, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs was prepared for a tough game Tuesday night at Gerald Prim Stadium against Paris, and the host Lady Wildcats got just what they expected.

Ashley Petty scored her second of three goals into the upper mid-left part of the box two minutes into the second half for the decisive goal in a 5-3 victory for SSHS.

Yorri Franklin assisted on the game-winning goal but not before things would get interesting. Paris' Brittany Ballard scored with 25 minutes left to bring the visiting Wildcats within one. Petty answered with an insurance goal at the 24:44 mark, dribbling down field and creating a wide-open shot. She now has 19 goals on the season and is only 10 goals shy of breaking 2003 graduate Joey Cameron's record of 28.

"This is my second hat trick for the year, so I am pretty proud of that," Petty said. "I'm hoping to average at least two goals a game. That way, I can accomplish the goal that I have set for myself."

Paris attempted to come back with just under eight minutes left in the game. What appeared to be a goal that would've brought PHS within 5-4 was waved off by the head referee, who whistled the team for offsides. Sulphur Springs took the ensuing indirect kick and kept the ball on the other end of the field for the remainder of the game.

Freshman Gayle Grand-Lienard had an opportunity to score her second goal of the night with 2:39 left in the game, but her shot was stopped on a diving save by the Paris goalkeeper.

Junior goalkeeper Lacey Lopez finished the second half with six saves, 11 overall. Petty had 10 shots on goal in the second half, Grand-Lienard four and Robin Grafton three. Franklin and junior Tess Bragg had a combined three shots.

"The amount of shots the offense had just proved how the girls can come together in times of pressure," SSHS head coach J.J. Williams said. "They showed great effort in making sure they kept scores on the board when the defense was down."

Grand-Lienard scored Sulphur Springs' first goal just nine minutes into the game, and Grafton added a goal off a Bragg corner kick for a 2-0 lead.

The two goals didn't stop Paris' Heather Cope, as she scored four minutes later to cut the deficit in half. Petty scored her first goal of the night off a penalty kick drawn by Grand-Lienard. Paris cut the lead to 3-2 at the half.

Petty had five shots on goal in the first half, 15 for the game. Grand-Lienard had three shots in the half, while Franklin and Grafton added two each. Lopez had five saves after the first 40 minutes.

"My girls get even more aggressive when things are getting physical," Williams said. "They keep calm heads and stay focused on playing good soccer when playing conditions are tough, for example, the mud."

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