Cameron Mercer spikes the ball at the Tooele defense on Thursday night at Park City High School. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
Cameron Mercer spikes the ball at the Tooele defense on Thursday night at Park City High School. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)

For many members of the Park City High School volleyball team, beginning the 2014 season came right on the heels of the conclusion of the summer beach season.

Because of that, the Miners came into Thursday night's home match against Tooele in great form, leading to a dominant three-set victory in front of a large home crowd.

After losing to Tooele in five sets to start the 2013 season, the Miners took control early this year, winning the first set easily while cruising to a 25-14, 28-26, 25-11 win.

Park City coach Ashley Driscoll said she was proud of the way her team controlled the entire match.

"It was a great first match of the season," she said. "And it was kind of fun having that match in the home gym. We had a great crowd tonight."

She added that it was an impressive showing in every aspect of the game.

"This group is so strong both physically and mentally," she said. "They perform well under pressure.

"They didn't let up for a minute, which was exciting. Our serving was strong tonight. Our blocking was really strong. Overall, they just pulled together as a team."

Driscoll credits the girls' summer seasons with bringing them to the school season in top shape.

"They are in top physical shape," she said. "They've got the speed and their verticals are up there. They've got the focus, too - they're not trying to get back into it; they're already in it."

Leading the charge for Park City was a pair of seniors - Sammee Thomas and Tressa Buckland.


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Thomas had 23 assists on Thursday night and Buckland had nine kills, five blocks and six aces.

Jo Henry added 10 digs and Cameron Mercer had eight blocks.

Driscoll said she's thankful to have an experienced group of seniors leading the team this season.

"These girls, they're so focused on the court," she said. "Their confidence is there. We've got the leadership. Some of these girls have been playing varsity since freshman year.

Jo Henry prepares to serve the ball to Tooele on Thursday night at Park City High School. The Miners defeated their opponents in straight sets to start the
Jo Henry prepares to serve the ball to Tooele on Thursday night at Park City High School. The Miners defeated their opponents in straight sets to start the season 1-0. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
"

She added that the difference is noticeable from a year ago, when the Miners showed potential at times, but couldn't overcome injuries and illnesses to gain any form of consistency.

"They're just more experienced," she said. "They all had such great offseasons. Their skills are obviously improving as well by playing so much."

The nine seniors in the 2015 graduating class will be the leaders of this team, according to Driscoll. That bodes well for the Miners, as every one of them has gained valuable experience since last season.

"Every single senior has already stepped up this season so far," she said.

Next up for Park City is a tournament in St. George, which begins next weekend. Driscoll said the Miners are eager for the challenge that awaits them down south.

"We are focused on a full week of practice before the Dixie Tournament next weekend," she said. "I'm excited to start the season with that nice, big tournament. Team cohesion really comes together when you're playing so much over two days. It'll be great for getting us ready for region play."

The Miners' next home game is scheduled for Sept. 18. Park City's opponent will be Juan Diego and the match will begin at 7 p.m.