The Park City High School boys' soccer team had plenty of chances to score early in Tuesday afternoon's home opener against 5A Weber.
Unfortunately for the Miners, the crossbar and goal posts wouldn't give up a friendly bounce, deflecting all of Park City's attempts toward the Weber goalkeeper.
Through the first 20-plus minutes of the first half, it looked like it would be just a matter of time until the Miners found the back of the net.
But Weber, a savvy veteran team, didn't panic. Eventually, the Warriors started putting pressure on the Miners' defense. With 15:38 remaining in the first half, the Warriors took advantage of a melee in front of the Park City goal and put a rebound past goalkeeper Charlie Urban to gain a 1-0 advantage.
In the second 40 minutes of the game, both teams tried desperately to score, but the 1-0 margin ultimately held up for the Warriors.
Though Park City lost, falling to 1-3 on the season, coach Jesse Blais was encouraged by what he saw on Tuesday.
"I thought they played tough," he said. "It was definitely an improvement from some of the games we had down in St. George [at the St. George Tournament]."
The Miners will play their first Region 10 game on Wednesday, March 26, and Blais hopes games like Tuesday's will help his team gel and improve.
"We still have a lot to work on, but we're getting better," he said. "That's what the preseason is for."
Playing tough teams like Weber will help speed up the improvement process, he added.
"This means a lot," he said. "It lets us see what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong against a team that's physical, moves the ball and has guys with tremendous skill."
Blais said he was happy with the way Urban, who replaced graduated goalkeeper Casey Sederman, performed on Tuesday.
"He played great his positioning was really good and he came out when we needed him to," he said. "He was communicating more than usual, too, so those are all positives.
Now the offense, which has scored just one goal in its last three games, needs to improve before region play starts.
"We just need to keep the ball moving quickly and make sure that we're using everybody to their best potential," Blais said. "I think Friday will be a big game for us to see exactly where we are now that we've had a couple weeks to work on some things from St. George."
On Friday (after this edition went to press), the Miners had a game against former 3A rival Ogden. Though Ogden is now a 4A school after realignment, Blais was excited for the opportunity to face an old foe.
"We always met them in the playoffs," he said. "Actually, when I was in school from '98 to '02, we lost to them in the semifinals three of those four years and we beat them in the finals for a state championship the other year. They're a very big rival for us and I'm glad they're still on our schedule."
The Miners will be back home on March 26, when they take on Uintah in the Region 10 opener. Uintah currently sports a record of 1-3-1. The game is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start at Dozier Field.