With three goals in a span of four minutes, Park Hill threw a haymaker at Lee’s Summit West.
But even as LS West wobbled, Park Hill knew the Titans wouldn’t go down easy, not after losing two previous times to them this girls soccer season.
LS West countered with two quick goals early in the second half and made Park Hill hold on for dear life before the Trojans claimed a 3-2 victory and the Missouri Class 4 girls state soccer championship on Saturday at Swope Soccer Village.
“We’ve seen West score a lot of goals really fast against us,” Park Hill coach Brandt Bell said. “Just weathering the storm was a priority for us and the girls did a fantastic job.”
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LS West created the most chances early as it controlled play in the early going, but that changed quickly when Park Hill started to get the ball downfield quickly on counterattacks.
Park Hill converted on its first good opportunity when a foul gave the Trojans a free kick 30 yard from the goal 11 minutes into the match. The kick was deflected to Alison Walls, who turned and fired for the first goal and her 32nd of the year.
Just under three minutes later, Park Hill midfielder Jayden Dorrell streaked downfield for a breakaway goal. LS West goalkeeper Tori Hunter deflected Dorrell’s first shot, but Dorrell knocked in the rebound.
And less than a minute after that, Park Hill’s Ayana Weissenfluh fired in a blast to the near post from 25 yards out.
“We came in with a mindset,” Walls said. “We knew that one wasn’t enough, two wasn’t enough, but that we needed to put three away, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Just like that, LS West (23-2) was in a deep hole.
“For whatever reason, we just shot ourselves in the foot,” LS West coach Shaun Owens said. “We came out hot, but after they got those goals it took us a while to get our feet back under us.”
LS West wasted no time climbing back. Grace Heenan put the Titans on the board with a shot inside the far post less than 12 minutes into the half.
When Carsyn Overin blasted a free kick from 30 yards out into the left corner of the net two minutes later, it was suddenly a one-goal game.
And LS West — which had scored five quick goals on Park Hill when the Suburban Gold Conference rivals first met back in March — kept pressuring the Trojans the rest of the second half. The Titans had 16 shots to the Trojans’ three as the action stayed in their offensive area. Park Hill goalkeeper Kelby Emerson made eight saves, including a fingertip stop on another Overin free kick late in the half.
Bell said it wasn’t by design that Park Hill stayed packed around the goal and made few charges down field in the final 40 minutes.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” Bell said. “I think it was just a reaction to the phenomenal pressure that team can bring. It’s not what we wanted to do, but it worked out in the end.”
It worked well enough to give Park Hill (22-3) its first girls soccer state championship in school history. The Trojans only other final-four appearance came in 1993.
Kearney 3, Union 1
Caroline Kelly opened and closed the scoring in Kearney’s 3-1 victory over Union in the Class 3 third-place match.
Kelly put Kearney (23-2) ahead for good with a goal in the second minute. Trinety Williams scored for the Bulldogs just three minutes later, and Kelly converted a penalty kick midway through the second half.
After managing only two shots in its 2-0 loss to Rockwood Summit in Friday’s semifinal, Kearney generated four shots while holding Union (21-3) to four.
Kearney was making its first state tournament appearance since finishing second in Class 2 in 2014.