SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Platte County finally didn’t need to put in extra work to continue a run of success against one of the program’s biggest rivals.
After a slow start, the Pirates scored three goals in the second half of a 3-0 win over Smithville in a Class 3 District 16 semifinal Monday, May 15 at Smithville High School. The win advanced them back to the title game for a seventh consecutive season.
Platte County has now won four straight against Smithville but the previous three included two penalty shootouts and a golden goal from Destinee Smith in the 2016 District 16 championship. Scoreless at halftime, the rivalry game appeared headed for another tight finish.
“We just told them to come out (in the second half) and pick it up because we were a step behind on everything,” Platte County coach Ashlyn Brantley said. “Second half, we didn’t change anything they just came out with more intensity and knew what they needed to do and actually put it into action and it worked.”
Platte County’s fortunes turned on a deflection right out of the halftime break.
Hanna Hall, a junior midfielder, fired what she thought would be a cross into the box, instead watching the ball deflect off of a Smithville defender and into the net for a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute. The goal proved big for the Pirates after a frustrating first half with limited connections in the offensive end.
“We had the idea of where we wanted to pass the ball, but the passes weren’t connecting,” Hall said. “I honestly had no idea I was going to score the goal. I just planned on passing it and having (Smith) or Bailey (Bologna) get it.”
Platte County maintained the pressure, and Smith added to her team lead in goals with one in the 59th minute and the dagger in the 71st minute. Bologna recorded the assist on the second goal.
Jaylee Wiedmer, a freshman, recorded the clean sheet for the Pirates, making five saves in the shutout. Smithville failed to score for the second straight time in the rivalry series, having lost in a penalty shootout during the regular season after scoreless regulation and overtime.
Platte County finished 8-2 in Suburban Conference Blue Division play, beating Grandview 10-0 on Tuesday, May 9 and then losing 5-2 in the second matchup of the season with Kearney on Thursday, May 11 to close the regular season. Both of the Pirates’ losses in conference came against Kearney, but they will have a third chance to beat another rival to end a long losing skid in the Class 3 District 16 title game scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 17 at Smithville High School.
Kearney has won the last 14 matchups in the series, dating back to Platte County’s three-game sweep of the Bulldogs in 2010.
“It’s always going to be a good game, and we’re going to give them a fight,” Brantley said. “I feel like the pressure is on them to beat us a third time so we’ve got to come in just like we did the second half (vs. Smithville) and just work.”
Prior to last season, Smithville held a lengthy win streak over Platte County, including five straight wins in district title games. The Pirates seek back-to-back playoff appearances but have to navigate a more difficult bracket this year with Kearney moved back into the four-team field this season.