RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Park Hill South’s Tyler Pisoni and Turner Hall ignored the harsh memories when making the choice for their collegiate soccer destination.
Both inked with Rockhurst University on Wednesday, Dec. 1 before being honored during a ceremony that same day at Park Hill South High School. The Division II school shares a name with the high school that ended the Panthers’ season each of the past two years in heartbreaking fashion.
“I didn’t really think about Rockhurst High School when I was choosing my college,” Pisoni said, “but Rockhurst University is a great school to go to and I’m very excited for it — even though I’m not sure about that Rockhurst name.”
Five players from a large group of seniors that were a part of the two most successful seasons in Park Hill South history signed to continue their careers. Ryan DiBernardo and Daniel Gunderson will also continue on as teammates at Missouri S&T while defender Josh Wood chose Asuza Pacific — an NAIA school in California.
DiBernardo and Pisoni were two of Park Hill South’s three choices to the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association’s all-state team this past season.
A second-team pick after being honorable mention as a junior, DiBernardo led the Panthers with 16 goals to go with eight assists, which ranked only behind midfielder Dan Geary’s nine. A forward, Pisoni made his all-state debut on the honorable mention list with 13 goals (second to DiBernardo’s total) and five assists.
Park Hill South had four players finish in double figures with goals and was extremely balanced, which didn’t take away from the recruitment process for some of the 19 seniors.
“Wherever I can get playing time, I’ll be happy to play,” DiBernardo said. “As long as I’m on the field, I don’t really mind where they have me so we’ll see what the coach decides to do with me.”
Turner Hall, another forward/midfielder in Park Hill South’s attack, finished with six goals and five assists in his senior season ahead of his commitment to Rockhurst. Gunderson, a midfielder, was right behind with five goals and five assists as a senior before opting to join DiBernardo at Missouri S&T in Rolla, Mo.
Wood earned All-Kansas City Region and All-Suburban Conference Red Division honors as a defender. Park Hill South recorded 15 shutouts in a 19-4-2 season.
Park Hill South’s large senior class was a part of three straight district titles and back-to-back trips to the Class 4 quarterfinals, both ending with 1-0 losses to Rockhurst. The Panthers have won 31 straight league games, allowing just three total goals in that span dating back to the final game of the 2013 regular season.
“I’ll always remember these two years,” DiBernardo said. “We had great success our junior year and just carried through senior year. I think it was the best season South ever had so I’ll always carry that with me.”
In addition to the five soccer signees, Andrew Aswegan and Brendan Briody also announced college choices.
Aswegan, who missed the final part of his junior baseball season with a broken wrist, inked with Shasta College in Redding, Calif. He made a big impact in his first season as a starter and made the All-Red Division team as an outfielder.
Park Hill South went 18-12, won a share of the Red Division title and reached the Class 5 District 16 title game.
Briody plans to run cross country and track at Park University, located just down the road from Park Hill South. He qualified for the Class 4 Missouri State Cross Country Championships this past fall, finishing 99th overall in on his only trip.
Last spring, Briody ran on Park Hill South’s state qualifying 4x800-meter relay team, which finished 15th out of 16 in Class 5.