FENTON • With just under 15 minutes to play Tuesday night at Summit, the Parkway Central soccer team was up two goals and in control.
Then the host Falcons scored.
“You know what they say about a 2-0 lead being the most dangerous there is? Well, tonight we saw it in action,'' Central coach John Theobald said. “As soon as they scored, all the momentum swung in their direction, and we were hanging on. Afterward, I kidded (Summit coach Chris Kappler) that I was just glad we didn't have 10 more minutes on the clock.''
The visiting Colts, ranked fourth among STLhighschoolsports.com large schools, held on for a 2-1 Suburban South Conference victory, improving to 13-4-1 overall and to 6-0 atop the league standings. Tenth-ranked Summit is 13-6-2 and 1-3.
“Our sense of urgency came a little too late,'' Kappler, the Summit coach, said. “We really came on strong and had a couple of other decent chances to tie it. But we needed that same kind of intensity throughout the game, not just in the last 20 minutes.''
It was a game dominated by long throw-ins and top-level goalkeepers.
“Two pretty similar teams,'' Theobald said.
Kappler agreed: “Early on, it seemed like both teams were playing not to make mistakes. The game opened up a little, but it wasn't real pretty soccer. What you had was two teams trying to put the ball in dangerous positions and then looking for a break.''
Central got the first break with about 13½ minutes to play before halftime. Ryan Leven's cross from right side made its way to teammate Brian Hillhouse on the left side. Hillhouse played the ball into the box for Ben Sueoka, whose lunging shot found the net after going off the hands of Summit keeper Sean Clancy.
The Colts caught an even bigger break early in the second half when a long-range throw from Nick Helmbacher deflected off a Falcon defender and into the net for a 2-0 Central lead.
“If you get the ball to the box enough, eventually something good's going to happen,'' Theobald said. “But that goal also seemed to wake up Summit, because they really started to come after us.''
The Falcons' long-thrower, Kyle Brown, had several dangerous heaves into the Central box. His best, with about 20 minutes to play, was headed toward the goal. But Colts keeper Andrew Chekadanov managed to tip the ball of the cross bar and then recover to collect the rebound.
Summit got its goal with 14:14 to play. After driving to the right corner, the Falcons' Michael Laaker played the ball back to the top of the box for Danny Clayton, who scored on a 20-yard volley off the post and in.
“That was a well-struck ball,'' Theobald said.
Kappler agreed: “I'm really happy for Danny. He's been coming on for us and it was nice to see one go off the post and in for him.''
Summit continued to apply the pressure, but Chekadanov and the Central held it together.
“Everybody knows about Helmbacher's throws, but he's also playing some great defense for us,'' Theobald said. “He and Justin Bradshaw have really been strong on the middle for us.''
Central plays Wednesday at Troy and will travel to Columbia this weekend, taking on defending Class 1 state champion Springfield Catholic on Friday and Hickman on Saturday morning. Summit closes out the week Thursday at Parkway West.