On a night of disappointing final touches, Alison Walls’ best effort came at the end.
Park Hill’s junior forward netted her first goal of the season in the third minute of the second half of overtime to give the Trojans a 2-1 win over nationally ranked Lee’s Summit. The home opener for Park Hill ended up in sudden death after junior right back Chais Wright’s last-ditch putback in the closing seconds of regulation at Park Hill District Soccer Complex in Riverside, Mo.
Lee’s Summit played the final 32 minutes of regulation and all 13 minutes of overtime playing with 10 after midfielder Lexi Hawkins picked up a second yellow card early in the second half.
Despite being a player up for so long, Park Hill didn’t create an abundance of chances even with Wright and senior defender Jenna Winebrenner becoming increasingly involved in the attack. Walls sent a hard-hit shot over the bar in the 62nd minute, and Lee’s Summit goalkeeper Bailie Prier went low to comfortably smother a shot from Winebrenner with about 10 minutes left in regulation.
Park Hill’s breakthrough goal seemingly came from nothing.
With less than a minute to play, Trojans freshman midfielder Dragan Andonovski collected a loose ball and fired in a shot from 20 yards out right at Prier, who parried the shot a short distance. Wright, who received a yellow card moments earlier for a foul while Lee’s Summit attempting to waste time, was unmarked on the back post and calmly tapped the ball in with her left foot past the sprawling keeper with just 8 seconds on the clock.
The first 10-minute half of overtime didn’t feature much excitement until the 85th minute.
Winebrenner sent in a left-footed shot from 19 yards out and watched it carom back off the crossbar — her second shot off the crossbar in the game. Sarah Hibbeler, a sophomore attacking midfielder for Park Hill, hit a left-footed rebound shot, which Prier slapped away for her final save.
The Trojans’ leading scorer each of the past two years, Walls didn’t need much time in the second half of overtime to provide the winner.
Prier reached high to tip a 21-yard shot from Winebrenner just over the bar, resulting in a corner kick for Park Hill. Wright’s high-arcing, right-footed cross on the set piece found Walls on the back post, and she went high with her right foot to knock the ball all the way across the mouth of the goal and into the left netting to end the game in the 93rd minute.
Walls missed out on several good looks at goal throughout the game, struggling to test Lee’s Summit’s goalkeeper.
The Tigers dominated the early possession and chances, but Park Hill started to find its footing midway through the first half. Ayana Weissenfluh, a sophomore midfielder for the Trojans, provided the first clear-cut chance with a cross from the edge of the box on the left that found Winebrenner open in the middle.
Winebrenner’s shot bounced back off the bar.
The steady central defender, Winebrenner had another chance when Wright sent in a free kick from the right sideline about 45 yards out to find her on the back post. Winebrenner couldn’t quite steer her header on target.
Park Hill appeared headed into overtime scoreless until the head official whistled defender Aleece Noble for an unfortunate hand ball inside the box in the 35th minute. Lee’s Summit’s Amanda Sampson stepped to the penalty spot and buried her shot low and to the left past diving junior goalkeeper Kelbey Emerson, who guessed the right direction but couldn’t keep out the well struck shot.
The last serious threat to Emerson’s goal came in the closing seconds of the first half.
Lee’s Summit sprang a quick counterattack but the shot at the end went wide. Emerson, who started the season with back-to-back shutouts, ended up with eight saves.
Park Hill didn’t allow any more chances.
Four minutes out of halftime, the Trojans nearly leveled when Weissenfluh flicked a free kick from Winebrenner into the path of Walls, who shot wide. Moments later, Walls went wide again on another chance.
In the 48th minute, Hawkins picked up her second yellow on a hard collision with Park Hill senior left back Andie Powell.
The foul started a long spell of playing with a man advantage for Park Hill, which ended up continuing its unbeaten start to the season with an upset of last year’s Class 4 third-place finisher. The home opener doubled as the Suburban Conference Gold Division debut for the Trojans, who have been to the Class 4 quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
Park Hill 2, Blue Springs 0
The Trojans improved to 2-0 in Gold Division play with a shutout Thursday, March 30 in Blue Springs, Mo. Hibbeler and Walls were the goalscorers.
Park Hill split a pair of games over the weekend in St. Louis, Mo. in a slate of games pitting top teams from across the state.
On Friday, March 31, Park Hill lost 3-1 to Rockwood Summit with Winebrenner scoring the lone goal on an assist from Andonovski. The Trojans improved to 4-1-1 on the season with a dominant 5-1 win over Visitation Academy on Saturday, April 1.
The two opponents for Park Hill were top-10 teams in Class 3 last year with Rockwood Summit finishing as state runner-up. Visitation Academy lost to Rockwood Summit in the state semifinals and shared third place.
Park Hill received two goals from Hibbeler and one apiece for Mackenzie Sackovich, Payton Watson and Walls in the win over Visitation Academy. Watson’s goal came on her first varsity touch.