|Lady Cats soccer falls to Mesquite Poteet in bi-district playoffs|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 25, 2005 - The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats dodged about as many bullets as they could Thursday night, but Mesquite Poteet finally fired the fatal one on a second-half penalty kick.
The Lady Pirates' Jordan Monty scored on a PK with 21 minutes left in the game to spur Poteet on to a 2-0 victory in the Class 4A bi-district playoff match at Gerald Prim Stadium.
Poteet took 31 shots on goal - SSHS keeper Kai'la Petty recorded 17 saves - until finally the penalty kick from about 15 yards away broke the scoreless tie.
"I think one of our problems was when that penalty kick went in, the air kind of went out of our sails," said SSHS head coach J.J. Williams. "We held them 0-0 forever, and they get that penalty kick.
"They've got a great defense, a quick offense and their midfield just controls everything. It's a tribute to them, and it's a tribute to us, too, because we held with them for a period and a half. Over half the ball game it was a toss up."
Poteet (17-6-1) came into the contest averaging five goals per game, but SSHS sophomore Robin Grafton was able to control Jordan, the Lady Pirates' top scorer. Sulphur Springs (10-17), though, had a difficult time taking the ball away from the sure-footed Lady Pirates.
The Lady Cats took just four shots on goal, and only one in the second half when senior Tess Bragg sent a free kick from about 30 yards away just to the right of the pipes.
Poteet played a physical game, which resulted in a small skirmish at the end of the contest, and made it difficult for SSHS sophomore forward Gayle Grand-Lienard, who led the team with 15 goals this season, to get many scoring opportunities.
It appeared the Lady Cats had taken a 1-0 lead with 11:35 to play in the first half, but the goal was disallowed because of an offside call. On the play, Grand-Lienard played the ball ball ahead to senior Ashley Petty, who avoided the goalie and sent a slow roller toward the unguarded net. Teammate Morgan Baima then tipped in the ball, but the official's whistle rubbed out the goal.
The SSHS defense, led by Erica Verner, Sarah Goldsmith, Jennifer Moreland and Whitney Roland, did a credible job of forcing missed shots, and Petty was solid once again in goal. Verner, at sweeper, three times in the first four minutes of the game, stopped a Poteet attack in the 18-yard box.
Poteet's Cayden Hendon added the final goal at the 13:35 mark when she knocked in a teammate's corner kick.
Ashley Petty, Lacey Lopez, Moreland, Bragg and Nesha Malaj played their final game for the Lady Cats.
"Kai'la had one of her typical games," Williams said. "She shut down everything. We wanted it - I could tell in the girls' eyes that they wanted it - but it just didn't work out. Only one team can win a game, and unfortunately we didn't.
"That's a great team we just played. I think that's the best game we've played in a long time. We lost 2-0, but that happens when you play good teams in the playoffs."