As the Park City High School boys' soccer team prepares to enter the 3A playoffs this week, it'll need to bounce back from two tough results last week.
The Miners hit the road for two games against Region 10 opponents last week Wednesday at Morgan and Friday at rival Juan Diego.
Wednesday's game didn't go quite the way the Miners wanted, ending in a 3-3, double-overtime tie.
"We just kind of went into Morgan with a bad mindset," PCHS coach Jesse Blais said. "We went in thinking it was going to be an easy game. But it was their senior night and they got two quick goals. They got excited and they didn't want to lose."
But, after the halftime break, Blais was much happier with the Miners' effort.
"In the second half, we came in with a new intensity and tied it up," he said. "Then we scored on a [penalty kick] with not much time left."
Park City couldn't hold the lead, however.
"Somehow, Mitch [Martino] got called for a red card intentional hand ball by the goal," Blais said. "I don't know if I agree, but we'll have to give the referee the benefit of the doubt on that one."
The Trojans scored on their PK and the game went into overtime, where neither team was able to muster a goal, ending the game in a tie.
Martino's red card made him ineligible for Friday's game at Juan Diego. For a defense that was already missing Noah Pack because of a knee injury, not having Martino at his customary left back position was a big disadvantage.
But, Blais said, the Miners came into Friday's game playing the best first half they've played all year.
"We came in Friday with the same intensity we finished with on Wednesday," he said. "Juan Diego is a strong team and they have some excellent players, but we were able to score first, which is something we haven't done much at all this season."
The 1-0 lead wouldn't stand for long, though, as Park City conceded the equalizer moments later.
"We weren't really playing the formation as we should have been," Blais said.
From there, it was a back-and-forth game for the rest of regulation.
"We made an adjustment on defense, they made an adjustment on defense," Blais said. "We had a shot hit the post, they had a shot hit the post. Our goalies played great, their goalie played great. Both teams had chances to win in regulation."
But neither team gained an edge, and the Miners went to overtime for the second game in a row.
Then, after a scoreless first overtime period, the Soaring Eagle got their opportunity.
"The ref was calling a pretty good game until he called a dinky foul at the top of our box," Blais said. "Then Andrew Montoya put in a professional free kick over the wall, bending, near post. I haven't seen many high school goals like that."
Though the Miners have been plagued by allowing goals on set pieces all season, Blais said this goal was through no fault of the free kick defense.
"That was something that not many people can do, especially in high school," he said. "He's probably one of the only kids in 3A, if not the state, who can put in a shot like that. There's not much you can do with a shot like that."
That being said, Blais added that his defense needs to make sure they don't put opponents in position for free kicks late in close games.
"The main thing is, even though it was a dinky foul, he hit the guy from behind and put him in a position for a game-winning kick," he said. "We're a very aggressive defensive team. That's good in a lot of situations, but we need to realize when we need to hold back a bit. We'll work on some of those defending positions and just keep the mentality that we had coming into the games. [Friday] was a huge improvement from a lot of games this season."
Park City ended the season with an overall record of 8-5-1 (6-1-1 in Region 10). The Miners now enter the 3A playoffs with a first-round game against North Sanpete on Thursday.
Blais said they'll try to figure out as much as they can about their opponent before the game.
"I don't know a lot about their team," he said. "That region isn't the strongest region, but we can't take it as a light game. We're going to come out like it's Juan Diego and score as many goals as possible."
Thursday's game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at Dozier Field.