RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Park Hill South didn’t have to wait the final 2 minutes, 34 seconds to celebrate.
The lights abruptly went out at Park Hill District Soccer Complex late in a Suburban Conference Red Division matchup with St. Joseph Central on Thursday, Oct. 12. Rather than wait out the stoppage, Park Hill South took a 4-1 victory over the Indians to lock up at least a share of the league title.
Park Hill South won 33 straight in Red Division play before a loss on penalty kicks against Liberty North earlier in the season. Since that time, the Panthers have won six straight in league play to surge to the top of the standings with one game left to play — albeit an important one.
“We’ve got to take care of business this next week at Raytown and then we should win it out right,” Park Hill South coach Chris Farmer said.
An early goal on a free kick gave Central the opportunity to play spoiler.
A foul in a dangerous spot led Park Hill South to give up the opener on a free kick in the 22nd minute. Jake Mikesch, a senior defender, rose up to head the ball home past Park Hill South goalkeeper Mark Allred for a 1-0 lead.
Park Hill South sophomore midfielder Jacob Garza scored the next two goals — one on either side of halftime. He knocked home a header of his own on a pass from senior defender Kyle Werth in the 28th minute to make it 1-1 at halftime.
Garza gave Park Hill South the lead for good in the 61st minute on a pass from junior midfielder Carson Lindsay.
“They just keep finding ways to win and finding ways to gut it out,” Farmer said. “I don’t know if there’s one specific thing that has happened, but somehow they just keep finding ways to win and so as long as that is happening, we’re not going to change much. The guys out there are getting it done, and a lot of the times it’s not pretty and we’re not beating guys by multiple goals, but at the end of the day a win is a win.”
After Garza’s second made it 2-1, Park Hill South finished Central off with a barrage.
Isaiah McGilchrist — a senior midfielder — scored in the 67th minute on Lindsay’s second assist, and junior forward Isaac Henn scored on a solo effort in the 69h minute to make it 4-1. Allred made four saves and kept Central off the scoreboard for nearly all of the final 58 minutes.
Instead, the power outage ended the matchup early.
The win moved Park Hill South’s winning streak to eight straight before a 1-0 loss in nonconference play Saturday, Oct. 14 against Shawnee Mission East in Olathe, Kan. However, the Panthers (14-6-1) grabbed the No. 1 seed for the Class 4 District 15 tournament, set to start Tuesday, Oct. 24 with a matchup against Liberty.
Park Hill South entered the season with little experience but recognized seniors Tripp Parsons, Zach Nay, Max Ghasemi, Alzado Medina, Sebasttian Panimbosa, Nate Newton, Dustin Blakely, Joey Ferguson, McGilchrist, Werth and special recognition for the team’s senior videographer Jackson Underwood before the game against Central. A win over Raytown on Wednesday, Oct. 18 would give the Panthers a fourth straight outright Red Division title and send them into the postseason looking to continue the same string of district titles.
“They’ve worked hard to get this far, and they had a big class ahead of them last year,” Farmer said. “One of our key words this year was ‘hungry,’ and I know those guys have been hungry to get a chance to prove themselves. We did have kind of a rough patch there in the middle but they fought through that and they figured out how to win and that says a lot about them as a class of seniors.”
Blue Springs South 2, Park Hill 0
The Trojans suffered a third straight Suburban Conference Gold Division loss Monday, Oct. 16, sending them into the regular season finale at 2-9.
Park Hill won the first matchup between the two teams in overtime but failed to score this time around in the meeting in Blue Springs, Mo. The finale was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex against Blue Springs, which also lost the first matchup with the Trojans.
Due to a forfeit for inadvertently using an ineligible player, Park Hill (5-16) drew the No. 3 seed in Class 4 District 16 behind Oak Park. Park Hill won the meeting between the two in early August but later reported the ineligible player.
Park Hill and Oak Park play Tuesday, Oct. 24 in St. Joseph, Mo. at 6:30 p.m.
Park Hill South 1, Truman 0
Lindsay’s goal on an assist from sophomore defender Ty Rouse in the final minute of the first half ended up being the difference Wednesday, Oct. 11 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex in Riverside, Mo.
Park Hill South junior goalkeeper recorded the shutout in a Red Division matchup. The Panthers swept the season series with Truman after recording a 4-2 victory against the Patriots in mid-September.
Lee’s Summit 2, Park Hill 1
A fluky goal gave the Trojans an early lead, but Lee’s Summit netted the winner late in the second half of a Gold Division matchup Wednesday, Oct. 11 in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
In the eighth minute, Park Hill’s Jackson Turner sent a free kick into the 18-yard box from 47 yards out, and Lee’s Summit’s goalkeeper mishandled the ball in the air. The ball trickled into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Lee’s Summit leveled in the 26th minute on a penalty kick, which Park Hill junior goalkeeper Gabe Smith saved with a dive to his left. The rebound went right back to penalty taker Bailey Oleberg, who sent the next shot one-time past a helpless Smith.
The tie held until the 69th minute when Oleberg turned on a ball from 20 yards out and rifled a right-footed shot past Park Hill junior goalkeeper Stefan Derra.
Lee’s Summit West 2, Park Hill 0
The Titans held on in a Gold Division matchup with cold, rainy conditions Tuesday, Oct. 10 in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
An innocent turnover late in the first half turned into the winning goal for Lee’s Summit West. A long through ball beat the Park Hill defense, and the Titans’ forward beat an onrushing Smith to make it 1-0.