Though the Park City High School boys' soccer team was still shorthanded on Friday afternoon due to players traveling for spring break, the Miners looked just as good as ever against Region 10 opponent Union at Dozier Field.
After a lackluster first half, the Miners looked like a new team in the second 40 minutes, breaking the 0-0 tie and cruising to a 2-0 victory.
Park City coach Jesse Blais said his team played with much more enthusiasm in the second half after a sloppy first half.
"They definitely played harder," he said. "We had some opportunities in the first half, but we just started putting them away in the second half."
Alex Jackson got the scoring started for the Miners. He took a beautiful pass from Giacomo Castellano and beat the Union keeper to give Park City a 1-0 advantage eight minutes into the second half.
Later, Jackson would be the one to pick up an assist, feeding the ball to Mitch Martino with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game. Martino outran the Union goalkeeper, getting to the ball a split second ahead of his opponent and sent it to the back of the net for the Miners' second goal.
As Martino popped up off the ground to celebrate, he yelled, 'I finally got one!' After the game, the normal left back, who played forward on Friday to fill in for some missing players, said he was happy to be able to help his team in a different way.
"I'd been hoping to play forward for a long time now, so it was nice to finally get the chance," he said. "Since I was playing forward, I had the expectations of scoring for myself. I got a lot of good through balls and everything from my teammates."
But the game wasn't all offense for Park City. Conner Dawson and Charlie Urban combined at goalkeeper to keep Union from scoring. And, without Noah Pack anchoring the back of the Park City defense because of a lingering knee injury, Tanner Cartwright stepped up and increased his already-expanding leadership role, earning Blais's praise.
"He does it every game, so today was nothing different," Blais said. "It just showed a lot more today because he had less support around him. He's amazing and stepping up as a leader. He talks, he works hard I can't say enough good things about him."
Blais was also happy with the way Martino stepped up in a new role, allowing the Miners to have a formidable offense.
"He's very versatile," Blais said. "He can beat people one-on-one, he's got great vision on the field and he's faster than most of the guys on the team. It's nice to have him to move around."
Park City (8-4 overall, 6-0 in Region 10) has two big games this week, both on the road. After traveling to play Morgan on Wednesday, the Miners will square off against region-rival Juan Diego in Draper on Friday afternoon. Both games are set to begin at 3:30 p.m.
Martino said getting the players who were gone for spring break back into the mix will be crucial ahead of Friday's game, which will likely decide the Region 10 title.
"We've really just got to come together as a team," he said. "With half the guys being gone on spring break, it's going to be tough getting them back into form. Hopefully we can get the chemistry going again and start flowing."
Blais said winning at Juan Diego is easier said than done, but added that he has confidence in the way his team is playing.
"It's hard to play down there," he said. "It's hard enough to play them here. We're just going to have to create a lot of offense against their team. I know they're going to have another big scorer back who didn't play in the game up here, so they're going to have another weapon. We just need to play our best soccer to beat them."