|SSHS varsity soccer opens season in tournaments|
|From Staff Reports|
Jan. 16, 2006 - Both SSHS varsity soccer teams opened the season in tournaments this weekend, and they both had successful ventures.
The Wildcats, coming off a 20-win season last year, won their first three games at the Athens tournament before losing to the host team in the championship match.
The Lady Cats, meanwhile, split four games at the Ennis tournament to take fifth place and had Gayle Grand-Lienard named to the All-Tournament team.
ATHENS - The Wildcats easily swept through their first three games, defeating Rockwall Heath 5-0, Fort Worth Carter-Riverside 3-0, and Fort Worth Poly Tech, 5-3.
Against Athens, though, they ran into one of the best teams in the region, and fell 2-0. Athens was a regional finalist last season and lost just four players off of that team.
Still, the Wildcats trailed just 1-0 until the final 90 seconds of the game when Athens was able to flip the tables on the Wildcats' attack offense to put through the game-clincher.
"It was a good tournament for us," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "We had a good showing, and the guys played well.
"I just think against Athens we got a little tired, and they're very good. It helps, too, that it was at their house with their fans at the championship game. It had a playoff atmosphere to it, so it was good for our kids to play in that atmosphere."
He said senior defender Spenser Daniel and junior sweeper Graham Northcutt played well in the final game to divert Athens' efficient offense. He said goal keeper Jeremy Potter had a strong tournament.
"Spenser and Graham did a good job in the back," Holt said. "Really everyone played well the entire tournament."
Offensively, the team was led by forward Daniel Santillan, who knocked through five goals, including a pair against Poly Tech. Chris Rodgers also had a pair of goals, while Brent Holly and Blake Holly each scored one and Rolando Larios had two.
"For the most part, we had a good tournament," Holt said. "There was some good competition."
The Wildcats are scheduled to host Rowlett on Tuesday with the JV game starting at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity to begin about 7 p.m.
The Lady Cats compiled a 2-2 record at Ennis, and will try to get on the plus side of their .500 record tonight when they host Greenville.
Soccer fans can see their first home action at Gerald Prim Stadium today with the JV match beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity to follow 90 minutes later.
In the Ennis tourney, the Lady Cats won their first and last games, but dropped a pair of games in the middle.
In the opener, Sulphur Springs beat Borger 1-0, then lost to the Highland Park JV 1-0 and Waxahachie 4-0, before beating Forney 2-1 to capture fifth place.
Against Borger, freshman Bonnie Grafton scored the match's only goal, and goal keeper Kai'la Petty secured a shutout.
After two scoreless games, the Lady Cats got their offense going again in the win over Forney as Amanda Stoltenberg and Gayle Grand-Lienard each knocked in a goal to break a scoreless tie at halftime.
Grand-Lienard, the district's MVP last year, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Head coach J.J. Williams also complimented the play of sweeper Erika Verner, but the team will be without her services for 3-4 weeks after she suffered a leg injury and sprained foot.
"We got some good competition," Williams said. "I think the team got better throughout the tournament. Hopefully, we'll keep improving tonight."