RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Platte County’s play picked up at exactly the wrong time against its biggest nemesis. In the third-place game of the Panther Classic on Oct. 9, Smithville junior Eric Rodriguez slotted home a goal in the closing seconds of the first half, and the Pirates responded with increased pressure in the remainder at Park Hill District Soccer Complex. The needed response didn’t materialize in a 1-0 loss, and Platte County remained winless against Smithville in coach Ashlyn Brantley’s six-year tenure.
“It shouldn’t take that to get us to the point that we’re lifting (our play) because they’ve scored because we’re already behind at that point, making it harder for ourselves,” she said. “But I think we did pick it up then and started putting more pressure on them, causing more problems for them in the back and creating more options and chances for ourself.”
Platte County dropped the final two games of Park Hill South’s annual tournament and sat at 10-8 entering Tuesday night’s home contest against Raytown South. With just more than a week remaining in the regular season, the Pirates know their postseason hopes hinge on finally finding a way to beat their perennial nemesis.
Smithville assured that didn’t happen in the most recent matchup.
In the 39th minute, Rodriguez latched on to a pass midfielder Trent Williams sent over the top of the Platte County defense. Rodriguez stretched out to slide a shot into the lower left corner underneath Pirates goalkeeper Bailey Ride, who notched five saves in the first half as part of their usual two-netminder setup.
Despite a few nervy collections, Platte County junior goalkeeper Ethan Leftridge made four saves in the second half to keep the deficit at one goal while the Pirates steadily built pressure against Smithville’s tightly packed defensive line.
In the 44th minute, Platte County freshman midfielder Chandler Peterson blasted just over the bar from 23 yards out, but the Pirates best chances came later.
Alberto Arjona’s effort from 32 yards out cleared Smithville goalkeeper Cole Fuller but banged off the post in the 73rd minute.
After the Warriors cleared, Platte County surged back, and forward Paul Testorff just missed hitting the top right corner after settling the ball at the top of the 18-yard box.
The deep tries were effective with clear-cut chances behind the non-existent defense.
“They backed off and gave him the time and space, and Alberto’s one that will shoot from anywhere,” Brantley said. “If you give him that time and chance, he’ll shoot from the 50 if he can. It’s just knowing when to do it.”
Smithville also survived a pair of dangerous late free kicks and two corners to preserve the shutout. Platte County mustered six total shots but lost for the sixth time in its past eight games.
Park Hill South 3, Raymore-Peculiar 1
Tanner Alderson scored twice, including the eventual game-winner in the second half to break a 1-1 tie in the tournament’s championship game. Park Hill won its own tournament for the fourth time in its seven-year history and has now won two straight.
Raymore-Peculiar’s Micah Brewer tallied his team’s lone goal in the 55th minute. Alderson answered with rebound goal off of a shot from Carson Cavitt-Wells. Alderson also scored in the first half to put Park Hill South up 1-0 at the break.
Park Hill South senior Joshua Robaska added the final tally of off a throw-in from Seth Hudson.
Park Hill South went on to beat Ruskin on Monday night and owns a 17-2 record entering Tuesday night’s game against St. Joseph Central. The Panthers have won 10 straight pending that result, which was not available at deadline.