RIVERSIDE, Mo. — After a frustrating first half, Park Hill and Liberty North approached the break in a scoreless tie before spark from an unlikely source.
Ayana Weissenfluh collected a layoff pass from senior Ali Walls and the junior fired a left -footed shot which took a small deflection and looped over a helpless Eagles goalkeeper 5 minutes from the whistle.
The tally opened the scoring and the Trojans defense took it from there in a 3-0 win in the Class 4 sectional round of the Missouri State Soccer Championships.
“As a defense a shutout is huge for us,” said Park Hill junior defender Aleece Noble who helped the Trojans to their 14th clean sheet of the year. “In order to not let them score we have to not let them turn and not let them receive a pass. We just try to lock them down as quickly as possible.”
It was Weissenfluh’s first goal of the year before the Trojans usual scoring threats added insurance markers after the break. Walls scored her 32nd goal of the year to cap things off in the 66th minute and Dragana Andonovski scored her 12th of the season just after the break in the 45th with a laser-like snipe from the top of the box.
“It was amazing,” Weissenfluh said. “I just love playing with the team so I like that I got to score and start it. It’s the best first goal I’ve had. It was joy and disbelief. We needed that goal and I was just happy I was able to do it.”
Now the Trojans get another crack at St. Teresa’s Academy in the quarterfinals set for Saturday, May 26 with a time to be determined at the Park Hill District Soccer Complex at Park Hill South High School. It is the fourth straight trip to the second round of the playoffs for Park Hill.
“It just shows our consistency and the high expectations we set for ourselves,” Park Hill coach Brandt Bell said. “These seniors especially Ali and (senior goalkeeper Kelby Emerson) have been phenomenal leaders, players and ambassadors for our program. It speaks for their quality with everything they have been able to accomplish. I’m proud to be a part of it and we continue to set the bar very high.”
The Stars have eliminated the Trojans two out the last three years with Lee’s Summit North, who St. Teresa’s beat 4-1 on Tuesday, May 22 eliminating Park Hill in the other trip to the quarters.
Park Hill will look to make the next step and return to state for the first time since fourth-place finish in 1992.
“We just have to duplicate the effort,” Bell said. “Hope to double down on it and just keep riding the wave.”