Soccer Cats go straight to top of district standings
From Staff Reports

Feb. 1, 2006 - MOUNT PLEASANT - One step for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats. One leap toward another district soccer championship.

The Wildcats took their spot at the top of the District 13-4A standings Tuesday with a convincing 2-0 victory over the Mount Pleasant Tigers in an early match-up of last year's two best teams.

Sulphur Springs senior Daniel Santillan scored both goals, and the Wildcat defense made it easy on goalie Jeremy Potter, who had to make just three saves.

Though the game was the district opener for both teams, SSHS head coach Andy Holt explained to his players that the road to the district title would be much easier with a victory over their arch rivals at their home field.

"We won district last year, and we talked about going back-to-back and what it would take to do that. The first step was to take care of Mount Pleasant," Holt said. "We talked it up, and it was a big game for us.

"Our guys played really well last night. They did the job and had the intensity and the fire and the desire to win."

The Wildcats earned the maximum three points with the win and are tied atop the district standings with Paris (an 8-1 winner over North Lamar), Texas High (a 5-1 winner over Commerce) and Texarkana Pleasant Grove (a 6-0 victor over Liberty-Eylau).

The Wildcats went up, 1-0, in the first half on a set offensive play in which Graham Northcutt throws the ball in to Spenser Daniel, who heads it to one of the forwards for a shot.

On Tuesday, it was Santillan who was the recipient of the Daniel assist. Santillan also scored when Blake Holly made a long run down the left side and fired a shot, which was blocked by the goalie. The ball bounced over the Santillan, who finished it into the net.

With a 2-0 lead, it was up to the defense to make it stand up, and they did. Holt said Potter, Daniel, Northcutt, Wilfredo Larios and Brent Holly were the defenders most responsible for notching the shutout. 

"We did a good job of attacking them, and we did a good job of not allowing shots and contesting the ones they did take," Holt said. "Our defense did an outstanding job of being on their backs all night and frustrating their forwards.

"Mount Pleasant is very skilled and very talented, and I think the one reason that we beat them when we're able is that we out-hustle them and out-will them."

The big-game atmosphere was exactly what Holt wanted as he prepares the team to not only capture a district title but to win a playoff game as well.

"It was very exciting for the players - it was a great atmosphere," Holt explained. "It was great for the kids to be in that atmosphere and that situation, and maybe it will help us move on in the playoffs. We've got 13 games to play before then, but that's something we're looking forward to.

"One of our goals this year is to make sure we win a playoff game, and by being district champs that helps us in that situation."

The Wildcats' next game is Friday at home against Commerce. The varsity-only contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Gerald Prim Stadium.

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