Sullivan's header helps Platte County soccer salvage 5th-place victory

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County junior Brooke Zenner (1) dribbles past St. Pius X defender Katie Pearson, right during the Platte County Invitational fifth-place match on Friday, March 27 at  Pirate Stadium. With a scoreless drought approaching 250 minutes, Platte County made sure to take advantage of its best and only scoring opportunity.

The Pirates went to overtime against St. Pius X after a scoreless regulation in the fifth-place match of the Platte County Invitational last week. Just 90 seconds into the extra session, sophomore central defender Amanda Sullivan rose up to meet a corner kick from junior forward Brooke Zenner, smacking the ball with her head off of Warriors goalkeeper Anna Lillig’s arm and into the net for the sudden-death winner.

Sullivan’s first career goal gave Platte County a 1-0 victory Friday, March 27 at Pirate Stadium to bring a successful end to a frustrating opening week in the six-team field.

“I made the run in, and I saw the ball and just jumped,” Sullivan said. “Next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and it hit off the keeper’s hands and went in.”

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County sophomore Katana Audas, left, attempts to dribble past St. Pius X defender Sydney Routh during the fifth-place match Platte County Invitational on Friday, March 27 at Pirate Stadium

Platte County improved to 1-1-1 after a 3-0 loss to Liberty North in the tournament’s opener and a scoreless draw with Harrisonville the night before.

Chances were limited for both teams, but the Pirates started to press forward with more urgency late in regulation. However, they only ended up with three shots, and none that troubled Lillig.

St. Pius X (0-3-0) — a Class 1 powerhouse with playoff appearances in three of the past four seasons — nearly broke the tie in the 74th minute on the counterattack when Lexie Moore latched on to a through ball but couldn’t round Platte County freshman goalkeeper Faith Burtchell in the one-on-one situation to get off a shot. Platte County steadied again after the clutch stop and forced overtime.

Early on, Platte County forced a corner kick from the right side, and Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley didn’t hesitate to send Sullivan forward to try and find the elusive first goal of the season.

“I know that she’s strong in the air and one of the best we have in the box,” she said. “We needed a goal, and she went and got one.”

St. Pius X created the only two substantial chances in the first half of what became a defensive stalemate.

After a slow start, Moore saw a header off of a cross deflected wide by the Platte County defense in the 25th minute, and Burtchell stopped a weak shot off the ensuing corner kick to end the threat. Three minutes later, Burtchell, who made her second consecutive start and made four saves for a second shutout, punched wide a shot from Allison Malott that appeared destined for the right edge of the goal.

Platte County’s best chance came early in the second half.

Zenner controlled a loose ball and went marauding down the middle of the field on a 35-yard solo run. After juking a final defender, the Pirates top returning scorer hit a left-footed blast that Zoila Victoria recovered to block, keeping the effort from troubling Lillig.

Much of Platte County’s possession centered around playing the ball up to Zenner, who held up play in an attempt to distribute. She often found the original outlet, but the Pirates offense struggled to make the final connection that would lead to offensive chances.

“In this game, we were struggling with the same thing: lack of shots. You can’t score if you don’t shoot,” Brantley said. “We do a good job of receiving the ball, holding the ball and laying it off. It’s that next pass or run where we’re lacking.”

Platte County traveled to Central in St. Joseph, Mo. for a non-league matchup on Tuesday, March 31, but the result was not available at deadline. The Pirates then enjoy an off week before opening Suburban League Blue Division play Tuesday, April 7 at Kearney.

Park Hill 3, Lee’s Summit West 0

Jenna Winebrenner scored a goal and added two assists, leading the Trojans to a win in their home opener Monday, March 30 at Park Hill District Soccer Stadium in Riverside, Mo. Raena Woodruff and Alison Walls scored the goals off of the sophomore all-state defender’s helpers.

Cailin Morrow assisted on Winebrenner’s goal.

Park Hill improved to 1-1-2 ahead of a Tuesday, March 31 Suburban League Red Division opener vs. Ruskin. The result was not available at deadline.

Lee’s Summit Tournament

Park Hill South went 1-2, finishing up with a 2-1 win against Raymore-Peculiar on Tuesday, March 24 before a 4-1 loss to Lee’s Summit North on Thursday, March 26. Overall, the Panthers allowed seven goals and were outscored 7-4 in three games.

Park Hill South started play in the Olathe Northwest Invitational on Tuesday, March 31 against Olathe East (Kan.). The Panthers also play Shawnee Mission (Kan.) and Blue Valley (Kan.).

Park Hill finished up the season-opening Lee’s Summit Tournament with two scoreless draws a 1-0 loss to Kearney.