Soccer Cats lose to Mount Pleasant but don't come away empty-handed

From Staff Reports

Feb. 6, 2007 - MOUNT PLEASANT - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats came away from Mount Pleasant with a shootout loss on Monday, but they didn't come back empty-handed.

The Wildcats picked up a point for the shootout, their first point in the opening three games of District 16-4A.

After battling to a 0-0 tie in regulation, Mount Pleasant won the shootout, 3-2, to stay unbeaten in district. The Wildcats, who lost in regulation to Paris and Pleasant Grove last week, may need that one point they earned before the season is over, said head coach Andy Holt.

"We got a tie and a much-needed point that may decide whether we make it to the playoffs or not," Holt explained. "I know it's real early to tell right now, but we lost to Paris and Pleasant Grove, which are two teams that will be fighting for the playoffs. That point is very crucial and very critical for us, and I'm pleased we got it."

Holt said goalkeeper Mario Arellano played well, along with the entire defense.

"Mario was in goal for us, and he played extremely well back there," Holt said. "He made some big saves and made some key saves in critical situations.

"Defensively, I thought we played sound. They had a few opportunities, and that's when Mario came into the picture and made some great plays for us. For the most part, I thought our defense played very well."

He singled out Graham Northcutt, Tate Ramirez, Rodrigo Larios and Jesus Torres for leading the defensive effort. Ramirez played his second game at sweeper after being moved from forward, and Larios was on defense for the first time all season.

Offensively, the Wildcats couldn't convert in regulation, though they had a few chances.

"We had a couple of opportunities, but we just couldn't finish them," Holt said. "Cole Lancaster hit the post on a set piece from about 30-35 yards out that was a very nice shot. We had a couple of headers that were close but just didn't have enough power on them.

In the five-shot shootout, Northcutt made the Wildcats' first shot. Then, after Mount Pleasant made three in a row, Oscar Maroquin made another goal. Jon Holt, inserted at goalie, then made a save on MP's fourth shot, but when SSHS missed its fourth opportunity, the Wildcats were eliminated.

"Those shootouts are tough," the coach said. "It's really anybody's game in a shootout situation. it's just who is going to step up and make a big play."

Having played the top three contenders for the playoffs in their first three district games, the Wildcats will continue their 14-game 16-4A schedule on Saturday when they host Texas High at 2:45 p.m.

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