Wildcats fall to 0-2 in district soccer season

By JIMMY ROGERS | News-Telegram Correspondent

Feb. 3, 2007 - Six separate Wildcat attacks on goal in the final five minutes were stopped by the Pleasant Grove defensemen Friday night as Sulphur Springs soccer (0-2; 3-4) lost Game 2 of the district season to the Pleasant Grove Hawks (2-0; 8-1-1) in a 2-1 effort on the Prim Pitch.

Sulphur Springs dropped to 0-2 in District 16-4A, 3-4 overall. Pleasant Grove improved to 2-0, 8-1-1.

Controlling the ball for much of the game, the Wildcat offensive effort was a step behind all night. Throughout the 80 minutes of play, Cat forwards crossed the ball from the right side to the face of the goal but no one was there to finish.

SSHS head coach Andy Holt said, “Our forwards were second to the ball and got caught going to the corner instead of making a run to the middle after we worked it to the side. They were not overlapping and coming back to the middle.”

Pleasant Grove's defense earned kudos from both coaches. Holt stated, “They know where to be and put themselves in the right spot for that. They knocked about four or five balls off the line. Their keeper made several saves on the line.”

The Hawks' coach, Whitney Keatlain, said their defensive play Friday night was in stark contrast to play the previous game.

�We played Texas High Tuesday and that was one of the worst defensive outputs we had all season and this is probably the best defensive game all season," he explained. "The keeper played better and the defense cleared the ball out about as well as we could possibly play.�

A 10-minute flurry of unanswered Cat offensive attacks and shots on goal began with 20 minutes left in the first half. Eight attempts either missed their target or could not penetrate the Pleasant Grove defense. Wildcat fans, players and coaches wanted a handball call on a throw-in at the 9:40 mark. The potential foul occurred inside the 18-yard box and would have resulted in a penalty kick, but it was a no call.

The first goal of the night belonged to Pleasant Grove. With 7:25 left in the first, a Hawk free kick 50 yards out was headed over the goal line from inside the 18-yard box by a Wildcat defenseman. Pleasant Grove senior Austin McCown, a three-year starter for the Hawks, took the resulting corner kick and seconds later received a pass that allowed him to put the ball in the goal with 6:28 showing on the clock.

A first-half Wildcat goal at the four-minute mark was disallowed on an offside call. Three more Cat attempts at the goal in the final two and a half minutes of play found two cleared by Hawk headers and the third stolen away by Pleasant Grove senior goalie Jacob Lavender.

The Cats began the second half with an intense attack on goal - four shots in the first four minutes. The offensive attack did not let up.

Pleasant Grove scored its second goal with 31:29 left in the game when senior Kyle Williams set a 22-yard rocket into the face of the goal.

With 25:30 left, Wildcat senior Graham Northcutt moved from his defensive position and found the goal on a shot inside the 18.

Holt praised Cat play, saying “We played better than we did last Tuesday. We controlled the game and were unfortunate on a couple of goals offensively,” but lamented, “we could not find the back of the net.”

Monday night Wildcat soccer is in Mount Pleasant for their third game of district.

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