Prior to the start of a second half of overtime, Brooke Zenner took a chance to remind teammates of how close they were to ending a frustrating streak.
Platte County’s senior leading scorer still remembers her missed opportunity from her first season with the Pirates, and she didn’t want them to experience the same regret. The match with Smithville ended up going to penalty kicks Friday, April 15 at Pirate Stadium with a cast of expected contributors converting their shots while an unheralded sophomore goalkeeper came up with the memorable save.
After a scoreless regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, Platte County prevailed 4-2 in a shootout thanks to Kaylyn Hathway’s diving stop in the third round of penalty kicks. The Pirates last won a game in the annual series with Smithville back in 2010.
“It’s definitely been a long time; it’s definitely been a dream we had,” said Zenner, who opened the shootout with a goal. “I told them, ‘Look, I’ve never beaten Smithville ever in my life. I had a chance my freshman year, and I missed the goal at the last second. This is my chance to redeem myself, and I want you guys there with me for this moment.’
“It took all of us coming together.”
Platte County improved to 6-4 with a long-awaited win against its stubbornly successful rival.
In 2010, the Pirates beat Smithville twice in the regular season by a score of 1-0. The Warriors won twice on penalty kicks the following season, including a 7-6 win in a tense district title game. That started a run of five straight Smithville wins in district championship games, including last year’s 3-0 victory that marked the Warriors 10th straight win in the series.
Platte County’s previous wins against Smithville came in coach Ashlyn Brantley’s first season, and this victory sets up the likely scenario of Platte County needing another win vs. the Warriors to go back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“I think we can build on (this win), and it gives us some confidence,” Brantley said. “Each year, it’s always a barrier, a mental barrier, going into districts, and I think this win it helps to break that down a little bit just because we know we can do it. We’ve done it now.”
Chances were slim for both teams with Smithville unable to make enough out of one dangerous corner kick in each half before nearly scoring the winner in the closing seconds of regulation.
Platte County put together a flurry late in the first half with Hanna Hall rattling the near post from an awkward angle in the 36th minute before sophomore forward Destinee Smith forced a pair of saves from Warriors goalkeeper Eli Huebener in the remainder. She held onto a right-footed curler Smith hit from 22 yards out as the clock hit zero before halftime.
In the second half, Platte County junior midfielder Kianna Castro shot high on an open net in 52nd minute after Smith collided with Smithville goalkeeper Raegan Pylypczuk while both advanced for a loose ball. Castro fired straight at Pylypczuk just 5 minutes later from 23 yards out.
“We had our moments; they had theirs,” Brantley said.
As the final minutes of regulation ticked away, Brantley started to realize a predicament for overtime and potentially penalty kicks.
Platte County sophomore goalkeeper Faith Burtchell beat away a heavy shot at her near post in the closing minute to help preserve the shutout. That would be her last action due to accumulation of halves played as she took over starting duties after returning from injury.
In addition, the Pirates’ injury list grew to included freshman defensive back Katelyn Evans, and freshmen Madeline Donnelli and Hannah Valentine were also forced to the bench. Both were playing on defense during the close of regulation.
Platte County adjusted by moving Zenner onto the backline hoping to preserve the shutout and force the tie-breaking shootout. The Pirates responded by creating more chances in the 20 minutes of extra time — first with Smith’s breakaway shot she fired wide of the near post in the 84th minute and then senior Caylin Scarpelli nearly providing a storybook golden goal in the early in the second overtime.
Scarpelli came on in overtime as the last available substitute and produced a right-footed shot from the left that Plyypczuk managed to keep out. Unable to produce the winner, Brantley remained positive about the effort and resolve to reach the shootout.
“I knew that when we go into overtime we don’t have certain girls,” Brantley said. “Everyone stepped up. It literally took the whole team. We didn’t dwell on the fact they had to play in different positions; they just went out and played.”
Platte County led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 after successful kicks from Zenner, Smith and Hall, who wound up with the eventual winner. Hathaway got a touch to Smithville’s second successful penalty kick then did even better on the third try, bouncing around on her feet before diving low and to her left to stop the third.
“When I jump on the line, it’s to give the opponent that fear — that they’re not going to score and they’re not going to make it,” Hathaway said. “When I jump around, it gives them that feeling that they can’t be in my box. That’s my box.
“I was trained to stay on my toes, so me jumping around was my training and me getting in their minds.”
Castro calmly stepped up and converted her try to put Smithville down 4-2 and in need of a perfect finish to the five rounds to extend the shootout. Eliza Baber’s try beat Hathaway, who guessed right on the shot but ended up bouncing off the right post and going out.
Platte County’s players huddled at midfield seemingly paused before realizing the victory had been sealed. They rushed forward to celebrate with Hathaway, who came off the bench cold for overtime in the wake of losing playing time to Burtchell only to play the role of hero.
“I wanted to cry so bad,” Hathaway said. “It was really hard for me, but I loved to know that my team is there for me and cheering for me if I fail or miss. At first, it was a bad feeling, but when I saved that ball, it was amazing.
“I was not expecting to play at all. I was in that zone that I was going to get comfortable on that bench.”
Platte County was scheduled to play Winnetonka in a Suburban Conference Blue Division matchup on Tuesday, April 19, but the result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Pirates close the week in the North Kansas City Invitational.
Park Hill 3, Platte County 0
Jenna Winebrenner continued to make the most of her offensive chances during a nonconference matchup Thursday, April 14 at Pirate Stadium.
A junior defender committed to Notre Dame, she scored Park Hill’s opener and helped a stagnant offense shake off early struggles with some creativity on set pieces. The Trojans led just 1-0 at halftime after sharing possession pretty evenly with Platte County in the early part of the first half, but they dominated the chances late, forcing Pirates goalkeeper Faith Burtchell into a number of sprawling saves as the final minutes ticked away.
Winebrenner’s goal came in the 25th minute on a corner kick.
Bella Catano’s deflected shot led to the set piece opportunity, and freshman Ayana Weissenfluh’s effort found Winebrenner unmarked for a header into the right side of the goal past Burtchell. Two minutes later, Winebrenner took a free kick from 40-plus yards out, sending an awkward bounding ball that forced Burtchell to make awkwardly punch the ball over her own net for her first of eight saves.
“I only get to go up (for Park Hill), so make the most of it,” Winebrenner said.
Alison Walls doubled Park Hill’s advantage cutting to her left before firing a blistered left-footed shot into the lower right corner in the 46th minute. Weissenfluh capped the scoring 6 minutes later, taking a dummied ball from Walls and hitting a low left-footed shot from 22 yards out that crossed up Burtchell and left her flat-footed on her line.
Just a minute earlier, Walls sent a header from the middle of the box over the goal on a pinpoint cross from the right off the foot of Raena Woodruff. Those close calls were consistent through the final 28 minutes, but Platte County kept the deficit at 3-0 to the final whistle.
Platte County’s lone shot on net came late on Zenner’s free kick from 45 yards out that Trojans sophomore goalkeeper Kelbey Emerson juggled but stopped for her lone save.
Park Hill 2, Liberty North 0
The Trojans toppled the previously unbeaten Eagles, scoring twice in the second half Friday, April 15 in Liberty, Mo.
Chais Wright set up Walls’ opener shortly after halftime with the sophomore forward flicking a shot that sneaked under the goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead. Park Hill didn’t put the match away until Catano buried a penalty kick Sarah Hibbeler earned.
Park Hill improved to 11-3 entering the Blue Springs South Tournament, set to start Tuesday, April 19. The result of the Trojans’ opener was not available at The Citizen’s deadline, but they also play Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22.
Park Hill 2, Liberty 0
The Trojans improved to 3-0 in Suburban Conference Red Division play with goals from Bella Catano and right back Chais Wright on Tuesday, April 12 in Liberty, Mo.
Park Hill plays in the Blue Springs South Tournament, starting with a game against the hosts on Tuesday, April 19. The result was not available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Trojans finish the round robin with games against Rock Bridge (Thursday, April 21) and Smithville (Friday, April 22). They finish a lengthy road swing at Lee’s Summit North on Monday, April 25 before closing the regular season with seven straight league games.
Platte County 10, Grandview 0
Zenner scored five goals, including a hat trick in the first half, to lead the Pirates to an easy Suburban Conference Blue Division win Tuesday, April 12 in Grandview, Mo.
Platte County led 5-0 at halftime with Zenner and Smith alternating goals up until the break. Hall added a goal to open the second half before Zenner added two more sandwiched around one for Evans.
Castro closed out the scoring for the Pirates.