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Sun., Mar. 11th, 2007  Lady Panthers beat Lady Rebels, 3-0
Derek Weinbrenner
Midland Reporter-Telegram

The Lee girls gimmicked themselves into a tight contest with first-place Odessa Permian on Saturday, but could not close the deal, falling 3-0 at Grande Communications Stadium. Lee coach Amanda Melchor unveiled an offsides-trap defense and might have gone into halftime scoreless if not for a late goal by Courtney Wilson. It was the culmination of several close calls once Permian (14-1-0 overall, 10-0 District 3-5A) figured out the trap. The Lady Rebels (7-7-1, 3-6) kept six defenders back and pushed them as high as possible at all times. Whenever Lee got the ball up to Whitney Smith, the lone forward, all six defenders would hover around the midfield line.
"It's not that difficult (to decide to do). We played a team that scored 30-plus goals (36). We've allowed more goals this year than all of last year...You have to defend them," Melchor said. "They have firepower. Honestly, if they didn't score three-plus goals, they should have been disappointed." The ploy worked well for the first 19 minutes of the contest as Lee baited the overly aggressive Lady Panther forwards into six offsides calls. But Permian's savvy veterans eventually found consistent ways to break the trap.
"We figured that they were going to play a low pressure defense, we didn't figure it would be that high up," Permian coach Chad Peterson said. The Lady Panthers got four quality looks in the next 12 minutes; and in the 34th minute, Wilson caught up to Michelle McCain's lob over the trap and beat goalkeeper Katie Stewart for the game-winner. "We definitely had the mindset of keeping the ball up. We were pretty prepared," Lee senior defender Stephanie Leonard said. "I'm extremely proud of the way we played. We just became more determined. We played pretty much flawless except for the goals they scored." The Lady Panthers strung together back-to-back goals in the 56th and 57th minutes. Wilson scored her second goal on a Kendre Hoggard assist. Then Ashli Smith finished after racing around sweeper DeNeal Nutt on a long punt by Permian goalkeeper Rianne McIntosh for the final score. Permian clinched the outright district championship with the win.