Boyd is not new to soccer playoffs

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

Mar. 22, 2007 - Boyd became the newest high school in the McKinney ISD when it opened last fall. But, the girls soccer team isn't new to the playoff scene.

That's because many of Boyd's Lady Broncos played on the McKinney North team that won the UIL state title in 2005 and was beaten in the regional finals last year by McKinney High, which went on to win the state championship.

When the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats take on Boyd at 7 p.m. tonight at Ron Poe Stadium in McKinney, they will be facing one of the top teams in the state.

Boyd finished tied for second in District 15-4A with an 8-2-2 record, but its two losses were both forfeits for using an ineligible player. It is ranked between No. 1 and No. 3 in the state by various polls. The Lady Broncos are the No. 1 team in the metroplex, according to the Dallas Morning News, ranked higher than district champion McKinney.

Boyd (17-2-5) lives off its defense, which has shut out 22 of 24 opponents, not counting the forfeiture losses, and hasn't allowed a goal in over 1,000 minutes of play.

Their best player is sweeper Kathryn Williamson, a junior who has already verbally committed to the University of Florida. She is able to use her speed to get into the offensive flow though she is a defensive player.

SSHS head coach Martin Bryant said the Lady Cats will have to try to work around her.

"We're going to have to work stuff down the line, pull her out of the middle and then try to get the ball behind her," he explained. "That's our best shot. Understanding she is their best player, the two outside players are good, too."

Sulphur Springs will counter with the offensive skills of senior Gayle Grand-Lienard, who has scored a school-record 31 goals, sophomore Bonnie Grafton (14 goals, 16 assists) and freshman Karlie Junot (12 goals).

Getting them the ball will be the trick because of Boyd's sensational defense and their style of play. The Lady Broncos are allowing 0.1 goal per game.

"The style they play is really slow, a progressive style where they try to string some passes together. It's similar to what you see on TV or a college-type team," Bryant said. "Our style is aggressive, to play balls over the top, use the edge of the field and try to outrun people. We'll have to see which style wins.

"If we can get them to play our style, we have an advantage. If we end up playing their style, it's obviously going to be to their advantage."

Midfielders Robin Grafton, Devyn Cullins, Sarah Goldsmith and Amanda Stoutenberg will be pivotal in getting the ball to the strikers.

The winner of the match-up will take on District 14-A champion Richardson Pearce in the area round either Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Notes: In other 16-4A games, runner-up North Lamar is taking on Mesquite Poteet (third place team in 15-4A) while district champion Paris received a first-round bye.

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