Trying to maneuver through the Lee’s Summit North final line of defense is like trying to drive through a wall. At least that’s how it felt to Rockhurst captain Jim Brazeal.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Rockhurst kept pecking away at that wall in Tuesday night’s Class 3 sectional game. Eventually, it came tumbling down.
Brazeal drove a penalty kick into the back of the net with three minutes remaining, the lone tally in Rockhurst’s 1-0 road victory at Lee’s Summit North.
Brazeal earned the penalty kick after the referee ruled sophomore defender Dylan Shillcutt had tripped Brazeal in the corner of the box. Lee’s Summit North keeper Coltan Hoffman guessed left on the penalty kick, but Brazeal softly pushed the kick into the opposite corner of the goal.
“I probably over-thought it a little bit,” Brazeal said. “I didn’t put it where I wanted to, but it went in, and that’s all that matters.”
The kick booted the state’s second-ranked team from the playoffs and sent Rockhurst into a rematch Saturday with Park Hill South in the Class 3 quarterfinals. Park Hill South, which won 3-2 against Liberty on Tuesday night, defeated Rockhurst 1-0 in the regular season.
Brazeal said he expects a more open game than the matchup with Lee’s Summit North.
That won’t be difficult. Using its typical counterattacking style, Lee’s Summit North packed in its defense for the first 60 minutes, limiting the chances for both sides.
“It’s frustrating to play against them, but we prepared for it,” Brazeal said. “We worked against our JV team all week, and that really helped us be patient to work against it.”
Lee’s Summit North earned the best chance — and only real scoring opportunity in the opening half — when defender Quinton Conyers drove a shot off the top corner of the post 12 minutes into the game. Bryce Gibson’s ensuring rebound chance was stuffed by Rockhurst keeper Garrett Loehr, who made five saves in the match. Hoffman stopped four shots for the Broncos.
From there, neither side saw much of a scoring chance until Brazeal’s goal with three minutes to play.
Shillcutt disputed the call that led to the penalty kick. His coach, Tim Richardson, wavered in his opinion.
“From my vantage point, it was a foul,” Lee’s Summit North coach Tim Richardson said. “Sometimes you don’t see that call made that late in the game in a game like this, but I’m not going to complain about that.”
The Broncos, 19-3-2, lost for only the third time this fall after completing an undefeated conference season and winning their district for the sixth consecutive season.