ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Park Hill South striker Dylan Kintner created every opportunity to add to his tally Sept. 15 at The Den. After each shot, he did his best to quickly shake of the frustration after a save from Central goalkeeper Brendan Ryan or an effort that fizzed wide of the goal. Kintner’s strike in the 77th minute erased any lingering disappointment and sealed the Panthers’ 3-0 win at The Den.
“It feels really good,” Kintner said. “All game, you get so many looks. When you don’t finish, you’ve got to have a short-term memory. It’s kind of difficult, but it feels great when you make one.”
Park Hill South’s senior goal-scorer collected a pass from Carson Cavitt-Wells near the top of the 18-yard box with time running down in the Suburban League Red Division matchup, took a touch to his left and fired a left-footed shot toward frame. The effort at goal ripped into the side netting, and Kintner took off with arms outstretched like wings in celebration toward the corner flag where a salsa dance ensued.
The goal capped a game that saw the hosts hang around despite only mustering two shots on goal.
Central’s Ram Lin fired a strong shot on frame from the right side of the area in the 23rd minute, but Panthers goalkeeper Evan Morrow parried it clear — one of his two saves on the day. That kept Park Hill South from encountering an early deficit.
“Evan did a nice job organizing (the defense).” Park Hill South coach Joe Toigo said. “He read things if they got through. Our back line is really starting to mold. … (Central) had three or four chances to score in the game. We want that or less, and part of that is us keeping the ball.”
Kintner opened the scoring in the 31st minute, after finally breaking down the Indians’ defense. He collected ball at the top of the penalty area took two touches toward the penalty spot before rolling a shot into the bottom right hand corner.
Calen Smerchek doubled Park Hill South’s advantage 5 minutes later.
The senior winger collected the ball on the right after a hurried Central clearance from a corner kick, and he knocked the ball past a defender and poked it home at the near post from a tight angle past an on-rushing Ryan.
“You get guys that keep hustling,” Toigo said. “You make your own luck. If you’re not running, they make a mistake and they clear it. You’ve got to be running and pursuing to make an opportunity. That’s part of effort.”
Smerchek nearly opened the scoring himself in the 23rd minute. Kintner crossed the ball in from the left wing, and the winger connected on a header on the edge of the 6-yard box, forcing a diving save from Ryan.
Crosses from the flanks and corner kicks became a staple for the Panthers.
“We had many quality chances from set-piece opportunities,” Toigo said. “In general, if we finish a little better, there’s a bigger gap. One of the things we’ll work on is finishing in practice.”
Park Hill South improved to 7-2 on the season, 1-0 in Suburban League Red Division play, snapping a 2-game losing streak. The Panthers return to action this week with two more conference tilts vs. Ruskin (Sept. 17) and vs. Truman (Sept. 22).