PCHS volleyball edges Juan Diego in five sets | ParkRecord.com

PCHS volleyball edges Juan Diego in five sets

Park Citys Emily Smith bumps the volleyball back over the net during a match against Judge Memorial earlier this season.

Through three sets of Tuesday night's match at Juan Diego, the Park City High School volleyball team found itself down 2-1.

The Miners dropped the first set 25-21 before bouncing back to win the second 25-16. However, in the third set, the Soaring Eagle fought their way to a 25-19 win to take the 2-1 lead.

With their backs against the wall, the Miners didn't give up, forcing a decisive fifth set by winning the fourth 25-20.

Playing to 15 in the fifth set wasn't enough for the two teams. Park City had to keep fighting, but eventually came away with a 17-15 set victory to claim the match 3-2.

"We were down 13-11 in that fifth set," Park City Coach Matt Carlson said. "The girls came back and tied it at 14. It was just awesome hustle and grit."

Last year, the Miners had trouble finishing off five-set games, often faltering late in matches. Carlson said the 2016 Park City squad set the tone on Tuesday night.

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"It's pretty big in the sense that last year we only won once in five sets," he said. "Most of the time, if it got tight, we wouldn't be able to pull the win out. But they're playing fearless right now, which is all you can ask for."

Carlson said holding it together when things got difficult in the fifth set showed a new mental toughness for the Miners.

"It speaks loads to their fighting spirit and their resilience," he said. "It's a never say never attitude and it's pretty cool to see."

This year's senior class has played a big role already, with Carlson citing senior leadership as a big reason the Miners were able to win in Draper.

"Joanna [Saucedo] ran a fantastic offense and we kept her on the floor," he said. "She led by example and was scrapping it out. Joanna just took it on her shoulders and worked hard, which inspired others to play up to her level."

After Tuesday's big come-from-behind win, Carlson said this year already has a special feeling to it.

"Girls are playing awesome and with a lot of confidence and pride," he said. "There's a different feeling. Girls are a lot more amped and positive about the season."

As Region 10 play approaches, Carlson said the Miners can do something that hasn't been done in a long time.

"It's been eight years since Park City has won the region, so the girls want to bring that region title back," he said.

The Miners will return to the court on Tuesday for another road game against another tough opponent — Lone Peak. Park City lost to Lone Peak in a tournament last weekend, but Carlson said he enjoys the experience of playing bigger schools.

"They're a top team in 5A," he said. "It's going to be a tough match on the road, but we just want to go out there and see some top-level volleyball. We're looking to compete against some tough schools this preseason."

The Miners return home on Thursday, Sept. 8, against Juab. The match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at PCHS.

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