Lady Cats lose in shootout to North Lamar

By JIMMY ROGERS | News-Telegram Correspondent

Feb. 10, 2007 - PARIS - The sixth attempt in a shootout ended the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' (1-1; 6-5-1) quest for an undefeated district season Friday night at North Lamar. The Lady Cats lost to the unbeaten Pantherettes, 1-0.

Neither team managed a goal during regulation play although opportunities were abundant from the start.

In the shootout, each team had five players shoot, but all were unsuccessful. This put the game into a sudden-death situation.

Lady Cat keeper Kai'la Petty's aggressive play had shut down the North Lamar defense all night and during the shootout, she met each shooter at the top of the 18-yard box. The first North Lamar shot was high over the goal. The next three were sent to Petty's feet and the fifth shot was wide left.

Blake Scott, the sixth Pantherette to enter the shootout began her 35-yard run by moving to the right and sending her shot waist high, nicking the charging Petty's uniform, but remaining on course and trickling into the netting.

Robin Grafton led off for the Lady Cats in the shootout, but Pantherette goalie Natasha Peel blocked her attempt. In other shots taken by Lady Cats, Devyn Cullins missed the left post by inches; Amanda Stoutenberg missed the right post by inches when Peel managed to deflect the shot; Peel's out-stretched hands deflected Gayle Grand-Lienard's attempt; Bonnie Grafton's shot was to the hands of Peel; and the sixth attempt put up by Karlie Junot ended as Peel came out of goal to deflect the ball.

Several opportunities for goals during regulation play were offered up by both teams. North Lamar's best opportunity came with 32:20 left in the game when a Lady Cat defender batted down a right side corner kick in the box. The resulting penalty kick went wide right.� �

�Offensively, we had our opportunities but didn't follow through,� was the summary of the night's work by Pantherette coach Kendall Kirk. �Sulphur Springs is dangerous speed-wise, scary. I thought our defense really shined tonight.�

Numerous opportunities escaped the Lady Cats (6-5-1 overall, 1-1 in District 16-4A). As the final seconds of the game's first five minutes ticked off the clock, the first Sulphur Springs attack ended when sophomore midfielder Bonnie Grafton ripped a shot just inside the 18-yard box but NL's Peel managed the save.

At the 28:18 mark in the first half, Robin Grafton sent one to the near post and a minute later Sarah Goldsmith tried one from the top of the 18-yard box. Goldsmith sent a cross from the right side to the far post, but Peel snagged the pass at Junot's feet.

With 10:50 left in the first half, Grand-Lienard had her first chance of the night as she received a pass inside the 18-yard box, turned and shot, but again Peel saved.

In the final minute of the first half, the Lady Cats had three shots on goal - all were stopped by North Lamar defensemen.

After the game, Lady Cat coach Martin Bryant said, “At halftime, we discussed their offense. They didn't have a shape to their alignment. We had them marked and when they started wandering around on us, we had to start switching and passing our marks off as they moved through the areas. To do that, you have to talk and we didn't talk very well. That's what hurt us.”

Both teams set up 11 tries on goal in the second half. The final North Lamar attempt came with 20 seconds on the clock, but Lady Cat defender Chelsea English cleared the ball out sending the game into the shootout.

The Lady Cats begin a five-game home stand on the Prim Stadium pitch Monday night against Mount Pleasant.

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