RIVERSIDE, Mo. — A late defensive lapse cost Park Hill again in another dramatic finish.
After leading early, the Trojans conceded two goals in the final 16 minutes, and Lee’s Summit North just avoided overtime in a 2-1 victory Thursday, April 27 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex. The Broncos netted the winner after a long ball into the box bounded all the way to the back post.
So far this season, Park Hill has played eight games decided by one goal with only one reaching overtime. The Trojans are 4-4 in those matchups, still adjusting to an increasingly difficult schedule in the powerful Suburban Conference Gold Division as the season hits the stretch run.
“We got tired at the end of the game,” Park Hill coach Brandt Bell said. “We just kind of lost track of some people at the end of the game. I told the girls, ‘This is a lesson we shouldn’t have to learn on the doorstep of May, but it’s a lesson we can still use going forward: close out games.”
Park Hill entered ranked No. 8 in the most recent Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association poll, while Lee’s Summit North was No. 3.
The breakthrough in this matchup came through Park Hill sophomore Sarah Hibbeler in the 28th minute. Her solid strike provided the Trojans with a 1-0 lead and optimism looking for a second straight Gold Division victory.
Early in the second half, Hibbeler and junior forward Alison Walls paired up top with Park Hill pushing to find a second goal. Instead, the Trojans were forced try and protect a 1-0 lead with a more defensive approach late.
Lee’s Summit North took advantage in the 64th minute with Alexis Mitchell firing a shot from outside the 18-yard box past Trojans junior goalkeeper Kelbey Emerson for the equalizer. With the potential of overtime looming, the Broncos winner came when the defense gave Liz Bales room to send a long ball into the box from the left side.
Park Hill couldn’t clear the ball, which made its way to sophomore Joanie Westcoat on the far post. Her shot went across the face of goal and rolled in after pinging off the left post.
“We’ve been on the disappointing end a few times, but we’ve also been on the exciting end a few times,” Bell said. “It’s just hard when you know how good it feels to pull one out the right way. It’s hard to accept when it goes the wrong way.”
The goal in the 79th minute left Park Hill with only seconds to try and recover.
Mackenzie Sackuvich, a sophomore midfielder, made one run down the right side but couldn’t get a cross into the box, and time ran out. The Trojans dropped to 10-5-2 overall and 4-4 in Gold Division play entering another top 10 league matchup with Lee’s Summit West scheduled for Tuesday, May 2.
The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Park Hill 4, Blue Springs 0
Chais Wright scored two, and Ayana Weissenfluh and Walls added one apiece in a win Tuesday, April 25 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex in Riverside, Mo.
Park Hill won the season series over the Wildcats with a pair of shutouts. Emerson recorded her sixth clean sheet of the season.