Nac trips up Lady Cats in muddy championship
Tyler Clifton | News-Telegram Sports Writer

January 26, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs reached the championship game of their Snowball Classic for the second straight season on Saturday, but unfortunately for the Lady Wildcats, the results were a bit different.

Nacogdoches' Brandi O'Neal may be small, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in speed. The Lady Dragon striker scored two goals in a span of 46 seconds late in the first half to give NHS a 4-0 win and the tournament championship in what many termed the "Mud Bowl" with extremely soggy conditions at Gerald Prim Stadium.

"We didn't attack and body up with them," said SSHS head coach J.J. Williams, whose team's record evened at 6-6. "We passed on the ground, and they passed through the air. That was the difference in the game."

The Lady Wildcat defense had some gaping holes in the first half, and it didn't do much to help freshman goalkeeper Kai'la Petty. The Lady Dragons scored at the 16:28 mark and made things difficult in the subpar conditions.

The ball was in SSHS territory for most of the game, and once junior midfielder Tess Bragg failed to convert a penalty kick with 2:55 left in the half, trouble began to brew.

"It's unfortunate we got this far and didn't finish the job," said senior sweeper Danielle Smith, who was named to the All-Tournament Team. "It was hard out there, because we didn't know which way the ball was going to go."

O'Neal made the score 2-0 at the 1:08 mark of the first half and took a crossing pass from left winger Elyse McMorries and put a forehead shot a shot past Petty for a 3-0 advantage with 22 seconds left before intermission.

The Lady Dragons added an insurance goal five minutes into the second half, when McMorries scored off a deflection of an indirect kick after drawing a tripping penalty.

"We're upset because we lost the game," senior stopper Yorri Franklin said. "There's nothing bad about finishing second though, because there were some good teams in this tournament."

SSHS was unable to get revenge after losing to NHS in the tournament opener 3-2 in a double shootout.

Notes: The teams agreed to play 30-minute halves instead of 40 due to the inclement weather conditions. Junior Lacey Lopez saw action both on defense and in goal.

SSHS 3, Corsicana 1

Bragg scored on another high-arching, right-footed shot for the game-winning goal that answered a Corsicana score 44 seconds earlier.

Ashley Petty scored an insurance goal at the 8:38 mark of the second half after scoring off a pass from freshman midfielder Gayle Grand-Lienard, and younger sister Kai'la Petty got the win in goal. It was the fourth straight win for the Lady Wildcats.

Freshman midfielder Robin Grafton gave SSHS a 1-0 lead late in the first half, as she scored off an Ashley Petty assist. Bragg then lofted a scoring shot over the head of Janet Lopez at the 35:56 mark of the second half.

The Wildcats had strong defensive performances from Smith and Franklin, along with fellow senior Kaleigh Thomson, junior Jennifer Moreland and sophomores Makenzie Kelty and Maci Chester.

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