Junot records hat trick in Lady Cats win

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 13, 2007 - Lady Cat soccer fans may need to start bringing extra headwear.

The Sulphur Springs faithful threw their hats into the air when freshman Karlie Junot scored her third goal in the first half on Monday, and almost had several chances to do it again in the Lady Cats' 7-4 victory over Mount Pleasant.

Junot had a hat trick and one assist and senior Gayle Grand-Lienard picked up two more goals - narrowly missing several chances for her own hat trick - and helped on four other scores before the home crowd.

The Lady Cats swamped Mount Pleasant goalie Lacey Lee with 29 shots on goal, twice as many as the Lady Tigers, as the Grafton sisters - sophomore Bonnie and senior Robin - each tacked on scores as well.

Mount Pleasant's Lilly Hernandez and Yuri Reyna each scored two goals.

Sulphur Springs scored the first goal less than three minutes into the match, held a 5-2 lead at halftime and put the game out of reach with two goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

The Lady Cats improved to 2-0-0-1 in District 16-4A with seven points, 7-5-1 overall. Mount Pleasant dropped to 1-2-0-0 in district with three points.

"We did a good job up top moving the ball around, working some stuff down the line and working the ball in, picking up trash around the goal and finishing," said SSHS head coach Martin Bryant. "That's what I preach to them - you're not always going to score on the first attempt. But, if you're around the goal, picking up rebounds, that's how you're going to get the easy goals."

Grand-Lienard, who now has 18 goals and 15 assists on the season, cashed in the first goal when Junot dribbled down the left side and shot a pass to her after the goalie left her line. Just 2:17 into the match, and the Lady Cats had a lead.

However, Mount Pleasant's Hernandez tied the game just four minutes later on a point-blank shot that looped over the head of SSHS goalie Kai'la Petty.

SSHS had four more shots on goal before Junot broke the tie. Senior Erica Verner sent the ball ahead to Junot, who sprinted down the middle of the field. The MP goalie came 10 yards out and stopped the ball, but Junot controlled the rebound and bounced in the shot for a 2-1 lead with 23:18 to play in the half.

The Lady Cats would add three more goals in the half - a shot from the top of the 18-yard box by Junot, a rebound shot by Bonnie Grafton after Grand-Lienard's missile hit the right post, and Junot's hat-trick goal with 1:52 to play in which she ran onto a ball sent ahead by Grand-Lienard and shot it past the sliding goalkeeper from 16 yards away.

MP's Reyna scored the Lady Tigers' second goal on a middle of the field shot from 10 yards out.

"In the back, I thought we could have done a better job of marking up," Bryant said. "Both of those early goals, the ball went to unmarked players and they got easy goals. That's something we can't afford to do with teams in our district.

That made the score 5-2 at halftime, but, it wouldn't stay that way for long.

Just 23 seconds into the second half, Grand-Lienard dribbled down the right wing and shot her second goal into the left corner of the net for a 6-2 advantage.

Petty saved a free kick taken by MP from 23 yards out with 33:30 to play, then SSHS picked up its final goal 13 minutes later when Robin Grafton received a cross from Grand-Lienard right in front of the net and shot in in for a 7-2 advantage.

Mount Pleasant scored a pair of late goals, though D'Kota Hutchings and Brittany Lamphere turned away MP scoring chances twice in the 18-yard box, and Verner marked up a break-away attempt at the top of the box with less than 10 minutes to play.

Grand-Lienard's final attempt at a hat trick came with less than a minute to play, but her free kick from 20 yards out sailed high.

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