|Paris wins district 13-4A soccer championship with win over Sulphur Springs|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
March 15, 2005 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats needed to win their Senior Night match-up for a possible repeat of their district championship from last year, but they were facing the top team in District 13-4A.
Allie Ryan scored the game winning goal at the 5:19 mark of the second half for the Paris Lady Cats in a 2-1 victory at Prim Stadium as Paris clinched the district championship with one game remaining in the regular season.
"We were struggling all game long on defense, and I am not sure what caused it because I told them before the game that it was Senior Night and this was our seniors' last game to play here," SSHS head coach J.J. Williams said.
Seniors Jennifer Moreland, Ashley Petty, Lacey Lopez, Nesha Malaj and Tess Bragg played their final regular season game at Prim Stadium and will
look to help the team get into the playoffs as a potential No. 2 seed this weekend.
The loss puts Sulphur Springs at 9-17 overall and 4-2-0-2 in district play with 14 points in the standings and a regular season finale Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Texas High. Paris is now 11-1-0-1 overall and 7-1-0-1 (22 points) in district play.
"Looking around at the wet eyes with everyone on my team, this was a tough loss," Williams said. "They tried all year and that is all that we talked about was the district championship from day one, and we just came short."
With their regular season finale at Texas High on Saturday, Williams said the Lady Cats need to work on their defensive intensity and hope to be able to pull out the win.
"We need to work on the defense and we need to be aggressive on the ball and controlling the middle of the field," the coach said.
During the first half of play, both teams were tied at 1-1 as both goals were scored in the first five minutes of the game.
Rachel Spain led off the scoring for Paris as she slid a shot past a diving Kai'la Petty with 38:33 remaining in the half for the early advantage.
SSHS then answered back with an offensive attack and junior Morgan Baima scored on a deflected shot from Paris goalie Megan Attebury.
"This was a close ball game and we just gave up a goal late in the game. Morgan played extremely well for us, and I am just proud that she got the recognition that she deserves," Williams said. "Everybody on the team played well and I am not going to single anyone out."
With 8:30 remaining in the game, SSHS had an opportunity to score the game winning goal as four Lady Cats players were in the Paris box, but Gayle Grand-Lienard pulled a shot just wide as she was losing her balance as Attebury came out to defend the attack.
Williams said many people considered this season to be a rebuilding year for the program after winning the district championship last year due to the fact that the Lady Cats had only five seniors on the varsity roster.
"Many people said this was a rebuilding year, and we are in second in the district race and I don't look at this as a rebuilding year," the coach said. "I look at it as we are a young team that has a lot of good players."