Parkway Central’s drought of playing in a sectional soccer game is over.
The Colts captured the Class 3 District 5 championship. It is Parkway Central’s first district crown since 2012.
“I am happy for the guys,” said Parkway Central coach Brian Adam, who is in his fourth year at the helm. “Every year is different and independent.”
Parkway Central (17-8-1) faces Ladue (15-7-1) in the sectional at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Colts will host the game.
Adam acknowledged that can be a positive.
“There is some comfort for the players to be playing at home,” Adam said. “I like the travel to a field to play. I like the symbolism of getting on the bus together to go tackle a task with a shared purpose. I am happy for our players that we should have a good crowd, even though the state decided playing on Halloween would be a good idea.”
Parkway Central lost 4-0 back on Sept. 6 to Ladue. It was not the Colts’ best game of the season, Adam noted.
“Even though we didn’t score, we did have a few assists,” Adam quipped. “We passed directly to them on some of their goals. We did a really good job of making it easy for them that day.”
For the Colts to reach the quarterfinals, Adam knows his squad must play well.
“We plan for whichever team to advance to have earned it,” Adam said. “It won’t be, and shouldn’t be, easy at this point.”
The winner will play the winner of the game between Fort Zumwalt South and St. Dominic on Saturday (Nov. 4).
Going into district play, Adam liked what he had been seeing from his Colts.
“We had been playing well through October and many players have figured out their roles on the team and how we want to attack,” Adam said. “The last week before districts we had two bad practices and a very bad game. That was a good little reminder for us that we need to work for everything that we want.”
Parkway Central opened district action with a 2-0 win over Westminster.
“We played well enough. We started with a fortunate goal in the ninth second, so that put a little psychological pressure on the opponent,” Adam said. “It was not an attractive game, but that wasn’t from a lack of effort. Both teams were fighting hard and defending well.”
The goals were scored by senior Cameron Aydt and junior Adam Burnett. Both came in first half.
“Adam took advantage of nerves and he pressed well,” Adam said. “As good as he is at dribbling, he tackles very well and it can be intimidating when he is running at you full speed. Cameron Aydt’s head ball goal was fearless and earned a great reaction from the assistant ref on our side of the field.”
The win set up a championship game playing the Parkway West Longhorns. Parkway Central lost to the Longhorns 1-0 last year in district title game.
It didn’t matter who the opponent was to his Colts, Adam said.
“We were ready for any of the opponents in the district,” Adam said. “We are all so close together that no matter who we play, it would be a battle.”
Parkway Central won 2-1 on penalty kicks.
Burnett scored the first goal on a penalty kick. He leads the Colts with 18 goals this season.
“We had the ball in their end, and one of their clearances went to us,” Adam said. “We found Luke Voeller out wide and he had great success attacking the goal from out wide the last time we played Parkway West last month. He did what we talked about before the game and took their defense on and attacked the goal.
“He beat his man and the Parkway West defender had to slide to pick him up. That tackle was knee to Luke’s thing. The ref had been calling that a foul in all of the games, and Luke happened to be in the box so it was a penalty and Adam stepped up to take it. Adam certainly has a nose for the goal. He likes to attack and isn’t satisfied unless he or a teammate is scoring.”
Harry Skordos scored for Parkway West. The game ended regulation time at 1-1.
There were opportunities to score but no one did.
“Both teams created chances,” Adam said. “Parkway West had their best chance in regulation when the ball found their leading scorer 6 yards from goal but Luke Voeller came from nowhere to tackle the ball off of his foot and preserve the tie for the time.
“We scored with 20 seconds left in the first half but it was called back for an offside call. We had numerous moments that got the fans off of their feet, but none of them went in either because we were just wide, or the shot was blocked.”
Heading into overtime, Adam stayed upbeat with the Colts.
“I told them to continue to enjoy the game and the experience,” Adam said. “We had done the work to get here, and there was no room or reason to acknowledge unnecessary distractions like nerves or tired legs.”
No one could score in overtime.
“Again, we had the fans off their seats numerous times, but couldn’t get it [the ball] into the goal.”
Adam said he was philosophical going into penalty kicks.
“I had done everything I could,” Adam said. “I am not allowed to take the PK’s nor stand in the goal, so there is nothing left to do but watch. Interestingly, it was probably the calmest that I had been all day because I knew that the PK’s would bring a decision.
“Part of me would like to just keep playing until there is a winner, but that wouldn’t be safe for the players and the quality of the game may break down considerably. PK’s are an often debated topic but that is the system that we live in.”
Parkway Central had not gone to PK’s this year before the district title game.
“We had ended a few games in overtime, but not PK’s,” Adam said. “I have a goalkeeper (Blake Siegel) who is in his first year of soccer, who hadn’t yet made a PK save on any of the PK’s we had given up this season, and we rarely practice PK’s, yet I felt calm because I knew that we had enough experienced players to handle their emotions under pressure.”
I was tied 4-4 after five penalty kicks were attempted.
“Their keeper dove low for every shot,” Adam said. “Four of our shooters — Adam Burnett, Kristian Dimitrov, Cameron Aydt, and Cameron Baird — all went high, and one went low to the corner. It was a nice shot and a nice save.
“Blake, my keeper, was able to read one of their shooters and made the save.”
So, each team had to pick a second set of five shooters. In this five, it is sudden-death victory.
“While the first five were shooting, I heard a few of the conversations and a few of our players regretted not putting themselves in the first five,” Adam said. “So, I found my next shooters and let them know that I needed the players who wanted to pressure to go first, even though, the longer it goes, the more pressure builds.”
Sophomore Jackson Koerner volunteered for Adam.
“Jackson let us know that he was ready and he stepped up and buried it,” Adam said. “The sixth Parkway West shooter took a strong PK, but it ricocheted off of the crossbar and out.”
So, the Colts prevailed.
It was time to celebrate.
“My boys were off the line immediately to celebrate,” Adam said. “We had a large, supportive crowd and the players and fans came together.
“I am sure the players won’t soon forget it. There are some definite talking points about the game that will be remembered for years.”