RIVERSIDE, Mo. — The pressure slowly built, and Park Hill South finally earned its reprieve from an unlikely scenario.
Austin Gates’ corner kick found teammate Moti Sarbessa’s head in the 74th minute for the tying goal in a Panther Classic pool game against Platte County. The late equalizer forced extra time, and Park Hill South sophomore midfielder Jacob Garza headed home the sudden death winner just 1 minute, 9 seconds into the first half of overtime in a Panther Classic pool play game.
Park Hill South escaped with a 3-2 win Monday, Oct. 2 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex — a fifth straight for a lineup with only one returning starter from a year ago.
“I feel like we create our own adversity, but then somehow, we’re able to overcome it,” Park Hill South coach Chris Farmer said. “As long as they keep doing that, hopefully, it’s building character as we move forward, but they are putting themselves in some sticky situations but finding their way out of it.”
Platte County went ahead 2-1 with back-to-back goals midway through the second half.
Chandler Peterson’s 53rd goal of the season gave the Pirates the lead for the first time in the 56th minute. Park Hill South used senior defender Zach Nay and sophomore right back Ty Rouse to shadow the speedy forward for most of the game — a new strategy for the Panthers.
In last season’s Panther Classic matchup, Peterson scored early and finished with two goals in a Platte County loss.
“We haven’t done that, but there’s not many people that can singlehandedly create goals like (Peterson) can,” Nay said.
After going behind 2-1, Park Hill South settled back in and started to push for an equalizer.
Isaiah McGilchrist, a senior midfielder, whistled a shot in from 26 yards out in the 59th minute, but junior Kemper York tipped the ball over for the second highlight reel save from a Platte County goalkeeper. The lead didn’t last, and Sarbessa’s goal off of a corner kick — just the second for the Panthers from that scenario this season — provided a second chance.
Garza, a speedy midfielder, was an unlikely target on a cross from junior forward Isaac Henn, but he delivered for Park Hill South, which had gone 0-2-1 in its previous three games this season that went to overtime. The Panthers improved to 9-5-1 overall with a strong sense of resilience showing for the growing roster.
“It’s nice to have an offense that can make up for defensive mistakes,” Nay said. “Because with an offensive threat like No. 1, Chandler, it’s hard to feel security back there.”
Park Hill South led 1-0 at halftime through a penalty kick.
Called for a foul at the edge of the 18-yard box, Platte County conceded the spot try in the 15th minute, and after some confusion about where the foul occurred, Panthers senior forward Nate Newton stepped up. He buried the shot past Platte County goalkeeper Turner Hess.
The defense on Peterson held throughout the first half. His free kick from 23 yards out in the 23rd minute rattled off the outside of the post for Platte County’s first shot.
Hess saved a header from McGilchrist in the 34th minute and went high to tip a shot from senior defender Alzado Medina over the bar in the final minute of the half. The Pirates went into halftime down just 1-0 thanks to Hess’ four saves.
“It was a great save, and we definitely needed it,” Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley said. “Goalkeeping was right on, and that’s why we play both of them.”
The pace of the game changed in the 50th minute when Peterson found a small bit of space near the box.
Park Hill South fouled him to set up a free kick from 19 yards out, and Panthers junior goalkeeper Mark Allred went just under his own crossbar to tip away Peterson’s shot on the set piece. On the ensuing corner, the Panthers failed to clear, and Platte County senior Spencer Klopfer rose up to hit a header over Allred and into the net to tie the score at 1-1.
Platte County started to press with the momentum, and Peterson went just wide with a volley in the 55th minute. Seconds later, Pirates junior midfielder Hans Thyssen found Peterson in space, and he finished past Allred for a 2-1 lead.
“All he needs is one chance and 1 yard, and he finishes as good as any kid I’ve seen,” Farmer said.
Platte County couldn’t finish off the win during a frantic final 15 minutes. The Pirates ended up in overtime for the fifth time this season, dropping to 2-3 in those games with two straight golden goal losses.
“If we come out and play a whole game, it could be a different ending,” Brantley said, “but especially if we have a lead, we have to continue to play with that same intensity. We have to work on the same things we’ve been working on all year and that’s tracking runners, which seemed to hurt us tonight.”
Platte County again lost a late lead in its second pool game Tuesday, Oct. 3 against Raymore-Peculiar. Peterson scored his 54th and 55th goals of the season to twice give the Pirates a lead.
Park Hill 2, North Kansas City 1
The Trojans made a two-goal halftime lead stand up in a Panther Classic opener Monday, Oct. 2 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex.
Matt Lachowitzer scored in the final minute of the first half with a stunning individual effort to make it 2-0 for Park Hill. In the second half, North Kansas City controlled possession, and despite making four saves, Trojans junior goalkeeper Stefan Derra finally gave up a goal in the 75th minute while under heavy pressure.
Park Hill saw out the final minutes and held on for a fourth win in a span of seven games.
“I was a little disappointed in the energy,” Lachowitzer said. “For a few minutes there, we played good ball, but overall in the second half, it wasn’t the best energy. We’ve definitely played better the last few games, come together and created more opportunities.”
Park Hill went up 1-0 after a slow start when midfielder Jackson Turner scored an an assist from Lachowitzer.
The big moment came in the waning seconds of the first half when sophomore Austin Favela sent a pass with the outside of his foot toward the end line. Lachowitzer raced down and worked his way around North Kansas City defender Brandon Cibrian, who tried to shield the Trojans’ attacker from the ball while letting it run out of bounds.
Instead, Lachowitzer tapped the ball to keep it inbounds and poked in a goal at the near post for a 2-0 lead in the 40th minute. He never gave up on the play with his hustle rewarded on the eventual game-winner.
“My mentality is go and go and go, see if I can get the ball,” he said. “It was just an immediate reaction. I’ve done that a couple of times, and it’s one of those things that I have to be quick with and act quickly.”
Park Hill dropped its second game of the Panther Classic 1-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 3 to Smithville but will await its place match assignment for the completion of Wednesday’s scheduled games.
Park Hill South 4, Raytown 0
Henn’s hat trick capped a dominant Suburban Conference Red Division showing for the Panthers on Thursday, Sept. 28 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex in Riverside, Mo.
Park Hill South struck early and often to build a big lead. McGilchrist scored in the first minute unassisted, and Henn added his first two in the ninth and 14th minutes on assists from Garza and Newton.
Up 3-0 at halftime, Park Hill South didn’t score again until the final minute on Henn’s third (unassisted). The Panthers improved to 5-1 in Red Division play with the win, having taken two straight since a PK shootout loss to Liberty North.
Park Hill South 2, Liberty 1
The Panthers secured the season sweep of Liberty with an important Red Division win Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex in Riverside, Mo.
Trailing 1-0, Park Hill South tied the score in the 54th minute through Sebasttian Panimbosa on an assist from Gates. Carson Lindsay scored the winner in the 64th minute on a pass from Newton.
All three goals came in the second half with Liberty going up 1-0 in the 49th minute.
Raymore-Peculiar 1, Park Hill 0
The Trojans were held scoreless despite playing with a man advantage for the final 66 minutes Wednesday, Sept. 27 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex in Riverside, Mo.
Playing well early, Park Hill gave up the match’s lone goal in the 19th minute on a header off of a corner kick. A Raymore-Peculiar player picked up a red card five minutes later for dissent and held the shutout despite playing with 10 men for the remainder of the game.
Park Hill dropped to 2-6 in Gold Division play.