Injuries weren’t the only factor, but they finally caught up to Platte County in a grueling but successful season.
On Tuesday, May 24, the Pirates played in Class 3 sectional, their first playoff appearance in six years, but were minus four starters. At least four other starters played with injuries in a 3-1 loss to Grain Valley at Pirate Stadium.
Rylan Childers scored all three goals for the Eagles, who never trailed.
Platte County finished the season at 15-7 with the first district title since back-to-back playoff trips in 2009 and 2010. The Pirates battled injuries the entire way, starting with season-ending knee injuries to defender Amanda Sullivan and midfielder Bailey Bologna in preseason.
The news got worse prior to the match with Grain Valley.
Madeline Donnelli, a freshman defender, remained out after suffering a head injury in Platte County’s 2-1 overtime win against Smithville in the District 16 title game last week. Faith Burtchell, the Pirates starting goalkeeper, came up injured in pregame warmups.
Kaylyn Hathaway started in goal, and Grain Valley touched her for two goals in a span of 5 minutes during the first half. She opened the scoring in the seventh minute and doubled her account five minutes later.
Platte County’s best chance in a slow first half came when Brooke Zenner, the Pirates’ senior leading scorer, fired high on a free kick from 19 yards out in the 36th minute. The slow start mirrored those during a 2-3 start to the season.
In the first minute of the second half, Platte County pulled one back.
Katana Audas, a junior midfielder, set up sophomore forward Destinee Smith, who fired a shot into the far post, closing the Pirates within 2-1. Childers completed her hat trick moments later, and Platte County couldn’t generate another push.
Zenner, junior midfielder Kianna Castro, sophomore defender Katie Hughey and sophomore midfielder Hanna Hall all played with injuries for Platte County. Zenner and Castro, two of the Pirates’ top offensive players were hurt during a district semifinal win against Benton.
Smith scored Platte County’s final three goals of the season, including both in the comeback win against Smithville.