RIVERSIDE, Mo. — After a frustrating game of half chances, the ball finally fell to Meghan Jones in the most opportune of spots.
Park Hill South’s senior forward made the finish look interesting, but her goal in the 79th minute Friday, May 6 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex assured victory in a Suburban Conference Red Division matchup with Truman. The Panthers struck twice in the second half of a 2-0 win but were left holding to a one-goal lead until Jones slid in to knock in a rebound in the closing seconds.
Despite a dominating advantage in shots and possession, Park Hill South struggled to create high quality chances.
“It’s senior night. I wanted to get a goal in,” Jones said. “Frustrating, and I’m glad I got one in there.”
Park Hill South’s Mayleigh Oder and Jones, both seniors, and junior Lexi Maddox were dangerous throughout in a new formation with three players playing up top.
With midfielder Madi Sanders physically controlling the center of the pitch, the Panthers spent much of the game running at the Truman defense, but they needed a wonder strike from Oder in the 51st minute to take the lead. Park Hill South senior goalkeeper Haley Mills then came up big twice to hold the shutout in the final true home game for nine seniors.
Mills, Brooke Montgomery and Jessica Perkins have all contributed in goal this season.
“All three have played a lot this year. (Mills) has probably gotten the hardest minutes, and she responded quite well there,” Park Hill South coach Joe Toigo said.
Park Hill South recorded a second straight shutout ahead of a “road game” vs. Park Hill at Park Hill District Soccer Complex scheduled for Tuesday, May 10. The result of the regular season finale for both teams wasn’t available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Shifting between the left and the right, Maddox created the majority of Park Hill South’s early chances against Truman. She moved up from the defense with the recent return of senior defender Sadie Grigsby from a knee injury suffered in September.
In the final 18 minutes of the first half, Maddox sent in three crosses that came agonizingly close to an opening goal, including one that Kallen Mazeitis steered wide right with a shot in the 25th minute, in addition to a mishit attempt of her own. The first cross came in the 22nd minute and a minute later, Maddox helped set up Jones for a shot that went high from 16 yards out.
“(Grigsby’s return) gave us that depth in defense we didn’t have before,” Toigo said, “so that gives us that possibility of moving (Maddox) up there. We’d like to use her two-way running ability.”
In the second half, Park Hill South nearly scored off of a corner kick in the 45th minute when Jones headed over to Mazeitis, who sent a header over the bar. Sanders then fired in one of her four shots that stayed on frame, but Truman goalkeeper Jessica Curtis went down to smother it and keep the match scoreless.
Truman then forced Mills into the first of her three saves in the 49th minute, and Oder’s goal came moments later. The senior midfielder bound for Missouri State pushed to the right, then left and back to the right before hitting a shot from 20 yards out on the right side that beat Curtis to the upper left for a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute.
“We’ve played decent all year, but we haven’t scored a lot of goals,” Toigo said. “(Oder) did a good job setting it up. She’s played a lot of good soccer, and she recognized how to set that up.”
Truman nearly leveled in the 62nd minute with a long-range shot.
Instead, Mills deflected the shot and then scrambled back to her feet and retreated to steer the ball out of bounds for a corner kick. Park Hill South then set about looking for insurance, which nearly came from Mazeitis on a 45-yard effort on a free kick in the 70th minute that pinged off the right post and out of bounds.
Jones actually hit a volley wide left in the 78th minute but came back to score when Maddox sprung a breakaway in the closing seconds. She fired a shot that Curtis parried away into the path of Jones, who knocked the ball into an open net for a relieving finish to an important game for Park Hill South (10-10, 7-2 Suburban Red).
“I knew if I kept trying, it would come,” Jones said. “I was like, ‘Yes,’ when it fell, and I almost fell over, obviously, because I was so excited.”
Park Hill South 11, Ruskin 0
Seven different players scored, and Brooke Montgomery and Jessica Perkins combined for a one-half shutout Tuesday, May 3 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex.
In addition to the goals, Park Hill South also saw two more nullified by offsides against overmatched Ruskin. Meghan Jones tallied a hat trick, while Mayleigh Oder and Kallen Mazeitis scored two apiece.
Oder, who added a pair of assists, opened the scoring in the fourth minute, dribbling in off of a turnover before taking the shot. Jones followed with a pair of goals — the first in the seventh minute off of a pass from Marquese Oder and the second on a combination of passing with Mayleigh Oder.
Margaret McKeon and Marquese Oder followed with their goals before Jones finished off her hat trick in the 24th, knocking in a rebound.
Mayleigh Oder’s second came three minutes later on a long pass from Mikayla Spires that started a breakaway.
Up 6-0, Park Hill South’s final four goals came from Alex Philpott, Flannery Koelliker and Mazeitis. Mayleigh Oder recorded her second assist to set up Philpott’s tap-in in the 30th minute, and Koelliker followed four minutes later.
Mazeitis scored the final two in a span of about three minutes, first collecting a loose ball in the box before firing home a strong shot inside the box and then on a give-and-go with Nicole Gardner.
Park Hill 10, Ruskin 0
The Trojans ran their shutout streak to nine in a Red Division win Friday, May 6 in Kansas City, Mo. with sophomore goalkeeper Kelbey Emerson recording her 15th clean sheet during a 16-game win streak, active heading into the matchup with Park Hill South.
Alison Walls recorded a hat trick, while Jenna Winebrenner and Kylie Aulgur netted two apiece. Bella Catano, Sarah Hibbeler and Ayana Weissenfluh rounded out the goal scorers.
Park Hill 2, Liberty 0
Bella Catano and Taylor Buckholz scored the goals Thursday, May 5 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex, allowing the Trojans to complete a season sweep and assure the outright conference title. Last season, Park Hill split the crown with Park Hill South.
Park Hill (21-3, 9-0) came in at a tie for fifth in the final Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association Class 4 poll, released the same day. The Trojans moved from unranked to the top team receiving votes outside of the top 10 to No. 5 in the three rankings released this year.
In the Class 4 District 16 bracket, Park Hill took the top seed, and the Trojans open with Oak Park on Tuesday, May 17 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex. The championship game is scheduled for Thursday, May 19.
Park Hill 10, Truman 0
The Trojans invoked the 10-goal rule with less than two minutes to play Tuesday, May 3 in Independence, Mo.
The goals were spread between seven players with Madi Massa scoring a pair in a rare chance to move up from her defensive spot and play in the attack. Hibbeler and Sam Paulak also scored twice, while defenders Winebrenner and Chais Wright, Walls and Catano all scored one apiece.