Miners win in action-packed afternoon | ParkRecord.com

Miners win in action-packed afternoon

by Jay Gold

Nick Gunderson (r) makes his move.

The weather was the only thing that was placid on Friday, March 24, when the Park City High School boy’s soccer team proved that, even when short-handed, it has enough talent to give good teams fits. On this day, despite the fact that starters Ryan Williams, Ryan Simons and Chase Gordon were unable to suit up, the Miners defeated longtime rival Wasatch 1-0 in a tightly contested, physical game on the Wasps’ home field.

With Williams and Gordon injured and Simons suspended for the game, it would have been easy for the Park City players to hang their heads as the win slipped away. Matters were only worsened by the fact that the team was without stalwart defender Bridger Bach, who left the team earlier in the week. Given that Wasatch almost perennially challenges the Miners, under these circumstances, a loss may have seemed probable, if not inevitable. "They are probably our biggest competition in our region," senior midfielder Steven Hart says of Wasatch. Park City, however, did not want to lose, and even without these key players, it poses a formidable threat to any team in the state.

After an extremely disappointing home loss against Wasatch last season, the Miners knew they could not take the Wasps lightly, and they stepped up their intensity level to come away with a win. The game was something of a grudge match, and though there were no particularly egregious fouls, it was obvious that both teams were desperate to win. Park City had a decent number of solid chances to score, and toward the end of the first half, Hart volleyed his fifth goal of the season into the net off of a short, airborne pass from Roberto "Betu" Linck. The team could not capitalize on any other opportunities, and still needs to work on finishing, but played resolutely throughout the game and never looked overmatched.

Park City did not dominate by any means, as Wasatch provided a fair amount of resistance, but the Miners certainly earned the win, and, for the most part, looked to be the better of the two teams. Murray Hawker, Tommy Martin, Paul Hanley and Harrison Holley all received extra playing time as a result of the team being understaffed, and each of the four did a very respectable job filling in, shedding light on the team’s depth and talent. One notable play was when Linck quickly cut the ball back directly in front of where the contingent of Park City fans was sitting and the Wasatch player who was attempting to guard him fell over while trying to match the sudden change in direction. The field was wet, but it was a very nice move and the crowd reacted more emphatically than it had following Hart’s goal.

The junior varsity team tied its game 3-3, as Hawker, Tom Gold and Austin Stevens each added one goal to the team’s cause. The team is laden with varsity-level talent, and while injuries and suspensions obviously do have their negative effects, for players such as Hawker and Martin, they can be opportunities.

The Miners’ next game is on Wednesday, March 29 against Judge and will be played at Judge at 3:30 p.m. Judge and Park City have always had a fierce rivalry, but Judge does not have as strong of a team this season as it has in the past.

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