Mehlville soccer hammers Oakville 5-3; Panthers to play in championship game

By Stephen Glover

For the past four seasons, Scott Jackson, the head coach of the boys’ soccer team at Mehlville Senior High School has been on a mission.

That mission was to build the Panthers into one of the area’s top soccer programs. In fact, Jackson accomplished that feat quite quickly, but one goal has kept Mehlville from receiving the proper credit that was due. The Panthers finally got the respect that they were looking for last Thursday evening with a 5-3 hammering of Oakville in the district semifinal.

“We had a game plan and told the kids that it was all on their shoulders,” Jackson told the Call. “We pretty much took it to them.”

The Panthers struck early with two goals in the first half of play and tacked on two goals in the second half with just 15 minutes of action left in the game to give Mehlville a 4-0 lead.

Oakville refused to go down without a fight as it scored two goals to give Mehlville a 4-2 lead. The Panthers put the game out of reach with a goal in the final minutes of the game for the win.

Junior forward Joel Sellmeyer, junior midfielder Steve Braun, senior forward Ryan Burke, sophomore midfielder Bryan Enger and sophomore forward Jason Keller all scored for the Panthers.

The win vaulted the Panthers into the district championship game against Webster Groves. It took an overtime goal by Keller to give Mehlville a 1-0 win and its first district championship in history. The win over the Statesmen was bittersweet for the Panthers as they had dropped a 1-0 decision to Webster Groves back on October 23.

“The kids felt that we really could play with them and we dominated them throughout the game,” said Jackson. “Webster Groves actually took it to us in the first 10 minutes of the game and their keeper came up huge and made some tremendous saves.”

Mehlville returns to action this Thursday evening as it plays Hazelwood West in the sectional championship. The Panthers defeated the Wildcats 4-0 earlier in the season, but Jackson and his staff realize that the second time around won’t be nearly as easy.

“We played them earlier in the year and it wasn’t an easy game,” said Jackson. “We’re really pumped and looking forward to playing them.”

The sectional championship game is slated for a 7 p.m. start Thursday at the St. Louis Soccer Park on Field No. 5.