Platte County senior midfielder Nathan Macaluso dribbles upfield against Olathe North in a Panther Classic game last week at Park Hill District Soccer Complex. TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra

Macaluso’s hat trick, 2 from Allen helps Platte County salvage tournament

Pirates’ streak without allowing a goal ends while going 1-2 in 3 games against tough competition at Park Hill South’s Panther Classic.
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Platte County’s run without allowing a goal came to an end, and the Pirates gave up at least one in each of the three games in this week’s Panther Classic at Park Hill District Stadium.

TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra
Platte County sophomore forward Gavin Nichols eyes the ball against Olathe North in a Panther Classic game last week at Park Hill District Soccer Complex.

However, a hat trick from senior midfielder Nathan Macaluso and a brace from senior defender Sawyer Allen helped Platte County salvage the tournament Thursday in a 9-1 win over Turner. The Pirates placed fifth in the six-team field after dropping tough 1-0 and 2-1 decisions to host Park Hill South on Monday and Olathe North on Tuesday.

Platte County (11-2) entered the week undefeated with 10 shutouts in the first 10 games of the season, a stretch of more than 700 minutes without conceding.

Six different players factored into the scoring for the blowout of Turner, which briefly closed within 2-1 in the first half before allowing seven straight to finish the game. The Pirates were up 3-1 at the break, and Macaluso added his second goal in the 44th minute and completed his hat trick with the third goal sandwiched around a marker from sophomore forward Gavin Nichols in the 50th minute.

Macaluso’s final goal came in the 56th minute to make it 6-1, and Allen netted both of his in quick succession — the 68th and 70th minute — before sophomore midfielder Connor Currence closed the game late with a ninth goal that invoked the eight-goal mercy rule. Platte County has scored four or more goals in nine of 13 games and hadn’t conceded until Monday. The Pirates have had five 8-0 mercy-rule shutouts plus the 9-1 result on Thursday.

TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra
Platte County junior midfielder Joseph Ibarra plays a ball against Olathe North last week in a Panther Classic game at Park Hill District Soccer Complex.

Platte County started relatively slow before a frantic end to the first half. Mitchell Kelley, a senior reserved midfielder, broke the scoreless draw in the 24th minute, and Macaluso doubled the lead a minute later. After Turner closed the gap to 2-1, Pirates sophomore reserve midfielder Josh Nelson pushed the lead back to two goals right before the break.

The offensive outburst came after 160 frustrating minutes in pool play for Platte County against the best competition seen to date.

Park Hill South recorded a late winner in Monday’s game to take the 1-0 win. Olathe North — like Turner, an opponent from Kansas — took a 1-0 lead in 25th minute and went up 2-0 early in the second half. The Pirates jumped back into the match late on a set-piece goal for senior central defender Isaac Havemeier in the 59th minute, but they could not muster an equalizer in the remainder.

Platte County immediately returns to Suburban Conference Blue Division play next week in what will be the toughest stretch of games before the postseason. The Pirates host Kearney (6-6) on Tuesday and travel to Smithville (13-4) on Thursday.

At 5-0 in league play, Platte County already owns a 1-0 sudden-death overtime win over Kearney but plays Smithville twice in a span of 12 days. Those games will likely decide the conference title in what should be a tight race.

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