RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Park Hill South’s retooled roster received an early measure of where it stands.
In a coveted rematch, the Panthers lost 3-0 to Rockhurst on Thursday, Aug. 24 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex. The two teams had met in each of the last two Class 4 state quarterfinal rounds with the Hawklets twice prevailing 1-0 on second half goals.
Last year’s win ended the career of 19 Park Hill South seniors with senior defender Zack Nay the lone returning starter from the loss. The Panthers entered 2-0 off of a penalty shootout win two days earlier against Lee’s Summit West but have struggled to score in limited opportunities with the new lineup.
“We faced a really tough opponent tonight so we just need to put some pieces together if we’re going to be able to compete at that level,” Park Hill South coach Chris Farmer said. “We had a big win on Tuesday emotionally. Physically and emotionally that takes a lot out of the kids and you turn around and play two days later, it’s not easy, but they are a great team that we just played.”
Rockhurst converted three of six shots on goal against Park Hill South senior goalkeeper Mark Allred. The Panthers managed just one shot and struggled to maintain possession against a continual state power with five straight appearances in the Class 3 or 4 state semifinals, including one state title and last year’s runner-up showing.
Park Hill South fell behind 2-0 in the first half and then recovered to play better.
“We just have to play smart, and that’s what we talked about at halftime,” Farmer said. “They have to play smart; they have to play simple and they can’t let the emotion of the game get to them in a negative way.”
After three nonconference games in a span of six days to start the season, Park Hill South was off heading into the two-game Olathe Showcase scheduled for this weekend. The Panthers have two matchups with Kansas schools after going 0-1-1 in the event a year ago.
After that, Park Hill South starts Suburban Conference Red Division play the following week against Liberty (Wednesday, Sept. 6) before a rivalry game with Park Hill (Thursday, Sept. 7).
“We’ve got a lot of work, but we’ve got some time off, which is good,” Farmer said after the loss to Rockhurst. “We’ve got some stuff to work on: switching the fields, keeping possession of the ball better. Then our big thing is to help build each other up instead of tear each other down because as a single unit we’ve got to get better just being positive with each other.”
Park Hill South 0 (4), Lee’s Summit West 0 (3)
The Panthers won a second straight to open the season, going to penalty kicks Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Park Hill District Soccer Complex.
After a scoreless regulation and overtime, Park Hill South prevailed thanks to four makes and two misses from Lee’s Summit West. Nate Newton, Austin Gates, Ty Rouse and Moti Sarbessa made their penalty kicks for the Panthers.
Allred posted the shutout but didn’t have to make any saves in the shootout. Lee’s Summit West kick takers missed high and wide right.