|Lady Cats still in the hunt for playoff berth|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
March 11, 2006 - MOUNT PLEASANT - With only two games remaining in the regular season for the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats, Friday night's game at Mount Pleasant was a must-win in terms of a playoff berth.
Sulphur Springs managed a 2-0 victory over the Lady Tigers and now hold sole possession of third place with a four-point lead over MPHS for the final playoff spot.
"This win meant everything to us, and without this win we weren't going on to the playoffs," said SSHS coach J.J. Williams. "The only way we could get to the playoffs was to beat Paris and Texas High by a certain number of points, and we really needed to come out and win this game."
SSHS (9-12-3, 4-4 in District 13-4A play) were once again without the services of Makenzie Kelty, Bonnie Grafton and Sarah Goldsmith due to injuries or being out of town, and the defense of D'Kota Hutchings, Sarah Petty and Erica Verner played a big part in the win.
Williams said freshman Brittany Lamphere impressed him during the game as she had an assist on Morgan Baima's goal with 12 minutes remaining in the first half on a crossing shot that rolled into the goal for the 1-0 lead. He also praised the play of goalie Kai'la Petty and forward Gayle Grand-Lienard.
"The girls came out and showed up ready to play and Kai'la Petty had 19 saves and Gayle Grand-Lienard had a lot of shots," the coach said. "Freshman Brittany Lamphere had an assist on a Morgan Baima goal and then Robin (Grafton) had a great shot on the penalty kick."
The penalty kick by Grafton occurred with 51 seconds remaining in the first half as she sent the shot past junior goalie Lindsey Lehman to give the Lady Cats the breathing room that they needed with a 2-0 lead.
Mount Pleasant almost held a 1-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining in the first half as Maricela Yepez blasted a shot from six yards out, but Petty made a diving save to keep the game scoreless.
The Lady Tigers had a goal waved off as the ball hit the goal post and rolled into the goal, but Sulphur Springs was awarded a goal kick with 8:18 remaining in the first half.
Sulphur Springs now faces the top two teams in the district as they travel to Paris on Monday night, and then have Senior Night against Texas High next Saturday. The JV begins at 5:30 p.m. against Paris, while the varsity starts at 7 p.m.
A win by the Lady Cats in either game will wrap up a playoff berth. SSHS can also reach the postseason with a regulation loss by Mount Pleasant and North Lamar in either of their final two games.