Lady Jags nip Cathedral in shootout

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; With fans huddled up in blankets and around cups of hot chocolate and coffee at D’Evereux Stadium Friday, the action on the field was as scalding as a hot bath.

The varsity girls’ region 7-1A/2A/3A matchup between Cathedral and North Pike went through 80 minutes of regulation, 20 minutes of two overtimes, one set of five penalty kicks and a final sudden death of PKs before a winner was decided.

Eventually North Pike’s Mandi Smith went high out of the reach of Lady Green Wave (3-6, 1-2) keeper Lori Scruggs to prevail 2-1 &045; 3-2 in penalty kicks &045; and remain unbeaten in region play.

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&uot;I’m disappointed, but we did well,&uot; Cathedral head coach Christine Krupa said. &uot;One thing Kate Ellard said was, ‘We’ll play them again.’ If we won’t dwell on this loss, I know we’ll be fine. It came down to lucky shots. Not much you can do about those.&uot;

After Ellard scored the first goal to give the Lady Wave a 1-0 lead at the break, the Lady Jaguars (6-2-1, 3-0) Emily Vanlandingham came back to tie the score with a goal in the 26th minute.

Both teams went scoreless through two periods of mandatory overtime, setting up the first round of penalty kicks.

&uot;We’ve been playing a low tempo game, and it seems like that doesn’t allow us many stabs at the goal,&uot; North Pike head coach Wes McCullough said. &uot;But our girls are out there and doing enough to win. And you can’t argue with winning.&uot;

Vanlandingham scored the first penalty kick with a shot that ricochet off Scruggs’ hands and into the right side of the net.

Cathedral responded on its ensuing PK with a goal from Brittany Funderburg, whose shot low and left careened off the left goal post and past a diving Lady Jags keeper Brittney Alexander.

After each team missed on its next attempts, North Pike’s Heather Williamson went high and right of Scruggs.

On the Lady Wave’s final attempt Jamie Greer punched a tailing shot past Alexander and into the net, as the Cathedral benched rejoiced.

Each coach regrouped and sent five more shooters onto the field for the sudden death round.

After Alana Malone and Sue Ann Bernard’s shots were gobbled up by Alexander, Smith added the game-winner beyond the outstretched hands of Scruggs.

&uot;I think (Scruggs) took it the hardest of all because when it comes down to one of those situations, keepers tend to feel like it was their fault,&uot; Krupa said. &uot;But I think she did an excellent job. It would’ve been a lot different hadn’t she been in there.&uot;

Scruggs made some nice stops in the first half, which was scoreless until Ellard got a runout in the 33rd minute of the opening half.

On a loose ball in Cathedral territory, Ellard dribbled past midfield, chipping her way through Lady Jaguar defenders.

As she entered the box, Ellard outhustled a North Pike fullback and Alexander and shoveled the ball across the goal line for a dramatic coast-to-coast score.

&uot;(Ellard) is a good athlete. She’s really stepped in there for them this season,&uot; McCullough said. &uot;I wasn’t ever concerned of (Cathedral’s) lead.&uot;

The second half was a different story, as the Lady Jags were able to control the ball throughout and keep the action on Cathedral’s side of the field.

&uot;The defense was getting pounded out there,&uot; Krupa said. &uot;They were working so hard. Naturally when you play 80 minutes without a break anyone is going to be tired. They were pushed to their limits.&uot;

Scruggs made some outstanding plays by coming forward in the box to either dive on balls or send them sailing out of the box to thwart shots on goal.

&uot;In the second we were a little fatigued, but it wasn’t that noticeable,&uot; Krupa said. &uot;I’m real proud. I think they played one of their best games of the season. They were real focused, and that’s all you can ask for.&uot;

Cathedral boys 3, N. Pike 0

The Green Wave built on their 1-0 halftime lead with two late goals from Nick Anderson and Cory Brock to stay undefeated in region play in a physical matchup.

Anderson scored with 11 minutes left in the game off a direct kick just outside the box, while Brock powered his goal home off a crossing pass from Anderson.

Cathedral (6-1-2, 3-0) got a goal in the first half from Palmer Rinehart off an Anderson corner kick that dribbled its way into the box.

Rinehart corralled it and burned it low to the ground past the Jaguars keeper.