|Despite win, Soccer Cats come in second|
|By MARTIN BRYANT | News-Telegram Correspondent|
March 12, 2004 -- Sometimes winning just isn't enough. The Sulphur Springs boys' soccer team found that out Saturday after beating Mount Pleasant 3-1 in a shootout.
While the Wildcats improved their district record to 10-1, they continue to trail the district leading Tigers by one point. The Cats also completed a sweep of Mount Pleasant while recording their sixth district shutout.
"I'm very proud of the way we competed today," head coach Andy Holt said. "We played really well and deserved the win."
In the first half neither team could mount a serious offensive attack. SSHS was kept out of sync by Mount Pleasant's physical play and managed just two shots on goal while allowing only one offensive shot by the Tigers.
The Cats came out after halftime and took control of the game though. Constant pressure was applied to the Tiger goal through solid possessions and well-placed passes.
Timo Torres had a header go just wide following Blake Birchfield's cross in the seventh minute but the tone of the game had changed. In the 12th minute Torres had another opportunity but his shot was cleared after rolling across the mouth of the goal.
But while the Cats were controlling the game, they couldn't score to put the game away and the second half ended in a scoreless tie.
"We didn't play real well in the first half," Holt said. "In the second half we stepped up and put a lot of pressure on their defense."
While Jeremy Potter and Aaron Ball -- playing in his first game since being injured in January -- combined for the shutout, Layne Ashmore was called in to play keeper in the shootout.
Torres began the shootout but his shot sailed wide. Mount Pleasant's Randy Foster followed with a shot off the post and the score stood at 0-0.
Birchfield began the second round of shooters by putting his shot in the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead. The Tiger's Luis Zuniga had his shot saved by Ashmore to preserve the lead.
In the third round, Nick Kennon scored for the Cats, but David Saldivar answered to make the score 2-1 in favor of SSHS. After Wilfredo Larios' shot was saved, Mauricio Canada hit his shot wide of the goal and the score remained 2-1. Ashmore then took his place as the last Wildcat shooter and buried his opportunity for a 3-1 win.
Because the game ended in a shootout though, the Cats were only awarded two points for the win while Mount Pleasant gained one point in a losing effort. What this means is that SSHS now has 27 points while the Tigers remain in first place with 28.
The only way the Cats can win district is with help from Pleasant Grove. If the Hawks beat Mount Pleasant or force a shootout then the door leading to a championship will swing back open. All that SSHS will need to do is win their final game for at least a share of the crown.
That final game for the Wildcats will be Friday against North Lamar. In their first meeting the Cats won 8-1 and they will definitely be looking for a repeat.
In other action the junior varsity fell to Mount Pleasant 3-0 on Saturday in their last game of the season. The loss moves their season record to 6-1-2.