Paris girls defeat Sulphur Springs at rain soaked Gerald Prim Stadium

Feb. 25, 2006 - The wet, cold weather wasn't made for a high-scoring shootout Friday night, but nobody told the girls from Sulphur Springs and Paris.

The top two teams in District 13-4A locked up in a nine-goal duel that was finally decided in Paris' favor, 6-3, at Gerald Prim Stadium.

With the victory, Paris moves to the top of the district standings with a 4-0 record and 12 points. SSHS is alone in second, pending the outcome of Texas High's match with Pleasant Grove, with a 3-1 mark and nine points.

The Lady Cats (8-8-3 overall) got a pair of superb corner kick goals from junior Gayle Grand-Lienard and an impressive header from freshman Bonnie Grafton. But, Paris' Brooke Taylor responded with an athletic hat trick of her own - including a goal with 10 minutes remaining that sealed the victory - and one assist.

The constant drizzle slowed down the players, but it may have been an even greater impediment to the goal keepers, who were having trouble moving laterally and holding onto the wet ball.

Sulphur Springs took a 1-0 lead nine minutes into the match when Morgan Baima sent a cross to the front of the six-yard box and Grafton headed it into the net right before the goalie collided with her, injuring Grafton's right shoulder. Grafton, who missed about half of the early season, played on-and-off in the first half, but did not return after halftime.

Paris' Taylor tied the score just a minute later when she dribbled in from about 40 yards and shot it past goalie Kai'la Petty, who had seven saves in the match, including a nice diving dig at the 20-minute mark to keep the game tied.

Makenzie Kelty marked up Taylor on a breakaway down the left sideline at the 13-minute mark, but Taren Taylor gave Paris a 2-1 lead with 6:30 left in the half when she drilled a 15-yard shot from the right flank. Three minutes later, Paris' Ali Ryan put Paris up, 3-1 - a lead they would take into the half.

The Lady Cats didn't go down easily, though. Just 90 seconds into the second half, Grand-Lienard made the score 3-2 when she hit a banana-shot corner kick from the left side that bounded right through the goalie's legs.

She made another corner kick goal - this time from the right side - with 21 minutes to go in the game. But, by that time, Paris had already scored two more goals - one headed in by Randi Mancuso on a corner kick, and the other a rebound shot by Taren Taylor.

Down, 5-3, Sulphur Springs had a couple of prime opportunities to cut the gap, but a beautiful header by junior Robin Grafton off a cross from Sarah Goldsmith floated over the top of the goal, and two shots by Grand-Lienard were both stopped by the goal tender.

Paris ended the scoring when Brooke Taylor put in her third goal with 10 minutes remaining.

The Lady Cats return to action on Monday when they travel to Texas High. If the Lady Tigers beat Pleasant Grove on Friday, then the winner of Monday's contest will be alone in second place after the first round of district play.

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