FENTON • Going down by a goal at Rockwood Summit, with standout Sean Clancy in the nets, usually spells disaster for a visiting team.
"From everything I've seen, especially the last couple years, he's a very stout player," Kirkwood coach Chris Steinmetz said of Clancy, last year's first team All-Metro keeper. "He commands the goal box and does a great job."
Steinmetz and the Pioneers faced that exact situation on Monday night at Summit. After the Falcons got the lone first-half goal, Kirkwood opened the second half in dire need of the equalizer.
But the pesky Pioneers didn't stop at one. They responded with second-half goals from junior Jake Poupard and senior Clayton Shead -- the last one with 8:37 remaining -- to walk off with a 2-1 victory.
"It feels amazing that we beat one of the top 10 teams," said Shead, whose goal began with a cross from junior Jojo Harig. "This is gonna move us forward."
Harig's centering pass bounced off a Summit defender to Shead, stationed at the left side of the crease. His first shot hit a defender, but came back to him, and he was able to bury the rebound past Clancy into the right side of the goal.
The Pioneers (7-3-2) had tied the game with 11:33 left when junior midfielder John Dowdy made a run down the left wing. He crossed the ball to Kyle Kraichely, who flicked it on to a racing Poupard in front. He knocked it past Clancy, who didn't have chance.
It was an unlikely conclusion for a jubilant Kirkwood squad, which was outplayed in the opening half.
"Coming off of SLUH (a 2-2 tie) on Thursday, I thought we would carry that momentum into tonight," Steinmetz said. "But we came out and played our worst 40 minutes of the season."
At halftime, Shead said Steinmetz told the Pioneers they needed to step up their game, and they came out fired up.
"The second 40 minutes they came out and took it to 'em," Steinmetz said. "We were able to work a couple different things that pulled him (Clancy) out of position."
Summit (9-4-1), the No. 9 team in the STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, had jumped ahead with 24:21 left in the first half on a header from Matthew Robinson. Less than 30 seconds later, Kirkwood senior goalie Madison Baer received a yellow card when he was ruled to have pushed down a Summit attacker.
The card meant Baer had to come out of the game, at least until the next stoppage of play, so junior Deion Corley stepped in briefly for him. Summit sophomore Kyle Brown was awarded a free kick from the spot of the foul, about 25 yards out. But Brown's rocket bounced off the right goalpost.
"It was halfway in the goal from our angle," Summit coach Chris Kappler said. "It hits the inside of the post and comes out. We had other opportunities, too, with our long throw and corner kick, to put the ball away. It was bouncing around in there a couple times, and we just didn't finish them off.
"They're a good team and have solid strikers. They're going to get their opportunities."
The loss hurt the Falcons' Suburban South Conference title hopes, as they dropped to 0-1 in league play. Parkway Central sits atop the standings at 4-0.
"This one could bite us cause we had it in our hands," Kappler said. "We were playing well and we let them back in it. ... Our defense let Sean down tonight. They didn't clear the ball out. He can't stop them all -- he's human."