Harrisonville may have come out with a 3-1 victory over Missouri River Valley West conference rivals Pleasant Hill in the game May 6 at Pleasant Hill, but the Chicks still accomplished something.
“This was the first time in three years that we have scored a goal against Harrisonville in regular time,” Pleasant Hill head coach Al Iantorno said.
The Chicks’ defense wasn’t enough in the first half against Harrisonville junior forward Haley Parker, who scored the first goal at the 33:44 minute mark, with an assist by senior Anisa Alexander. Parker struck again just a couple of minutes later, this time on an assist by junior Samantha Geier to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
“I felt pretty good about how the girls played,” Harrisonville head coach Dan Coleman said. “For the last couple of games here, we have been struggling offensively to get things going. We haven’t had quite the attacking mentality I’ve been hoping for. We were much more aggressive, attacked with more intensity and created more chances.”
In the second half, Harrisonville scored again, this time on a goal from senior Kaley Harkrader, with an assist by sophomore Kerrine Murry. Pleasant Hill’s goal was scored unassisted by sophomore Emily Scholljerdes.
“We played as hard as we could,” Iantorno said. “We played as well as they know how and that’s all I can ask of them. They play hard with tenacity and with all they have. They just do not have the skills that are needed at this level. We don’t play little teams. We play big time teams. What they are missing are fundamental skills that they should have learned when they were young. But they played hard and they walked away with their heads held high.”
Both teams still have conference games to play before the district tournament starts next week. But Pleasant Hill, 5-9, is ready to compete.
“We have to play defensive games against Harrisonville, Grain Valley, Warrensburg and O’Hara. These top teams have club players. We don’t have club players, until we start nurturing, promoting and producing club players in Pleasant Hill.
The Chicks, seeded No. 4, take on No. 1 seeded Grain Valley in the Class 2, District 13 tournament semifinals Monday, May 13 at Harrisonville.
Harrisonville improved its record to 9-8 and as the No. 3 seed will face No. 2 Warrensburg in the district semifinals Monday, May 13.
“With the games we have the rest of the week and the intensity we played in that game, I feel good about where we are heading going into the district tournament next week,” Coleman said.