The parity across Missouri Class 4 boys soccer last season was best exemplified in the state tournament, when 13 of the 15 matches were decided by two goals or fewer. Two games needed overtime. The state championship match required penalty kicks.
That parity has returned in 2015.
At least in the Northland.
While a dominant team has yet to emerge this season, Park Hill South and Oak Park have already eclipsed 10 victories, and Liberty, Park Hill, North Kansas City and Liberty North are all on the cusp of reaching the same mark entering the week.
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In the Western Missouri poll released Monday by the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association, Park Hill South is the top-ranked school that sits in northern Kansas City, checking in at No. 4. Lee’s Summit West is No. 1.
Park Hill South improved to 11-3 with a 4-0 shutout against rival Park Hill on Monday.
“(We have performed) very well,” Panthers coach Joe Toigo said. “We could easily be undefeated or 13-1 at this point.
“There’s a change in climate versus (last) year — we had a proven goal scorer in Dylan Kintner last year, but this year the goals come from many locations.”
Among that newfound balanced scoring attack, junior Tyler Pisoni was recognized Monday by the MSHSSCA as part of the weekly Elite Eleven. He has 10 goals and five assists this season. Park Hill South defender Josh Wood was also part of the Elite Eleven, headlining a defense that has allowed only one goal over its past seven matches.
Oak Park, ranked sixth in the Western Missouri poll, was represented in the Elite Eleven by senior goalkeeper Jose Camberos and sophomore forward Axel Chazaro, who has totaled eight goals over his past five games.
Liberty is eighth in the poll, with Park Hill ranked 10th.
“We’re not quiet where we need to be yet,” Park Hill coach Josh Marchbank said. We haven’t played to our potential yet, but we are building to the end of October. We want to peak at the right time.”
North Kansas City and a recently injury-riddled Liberty North team also received votes in the rankings.
“We found a bit of rhythm in the middle of September and have been playing down three starters for the last two weeks,” Liberty North coach Art Smith said. “Right now, we’re just coasting by on effort. We’re hoping to be back at full strength to prepare for district play.”
In Missouri Class 2, St. Pius X appears ready to make another run. The Warriors reached the Final Four in their first season competing in Class 2, and they’re off to a 7-3 start this season, checking in at No. 6 in the state rankings.
“We’ve had our ups and downs in the first part of the season. I think we’re a little bit behind schedule, as far as my expectations for where we should be in our development,” Warriors coach Todd Ashby said. “(But) we have come out in some games and played above expectation. The boys have shown that they can put some really nice runs together.”
The Warriors will compete in the Oak Park Invitational on Thursday through Saturday.