Stalemate turned into domination Tuesday as the Park City High School girls' soccer team took down the Juan Diego Soaring Eagle with a 2-0 shutout on the North 40 field. The Miners carried the same energy into Thursday's match, stretching their undefeated streak to 12 consecutive games by beating Union on its own turf 3-0.
The results underline Miners head coach Chip Cook's view that her players are growing more familiar with each other, leading to more satisfying results.
"I was very happy with the teamwork," Cook said. "I think we are doing a better job utilizing all of our players' strengths as we get to know each other."
The first half of the Juan Diego match on Tuesday began with many possession turnovers, but the Miners out-hustled the Eagles after the ball and started settling and creating opportunities to score.
Junior midfielder Gretchen Swenson assisted the first shot on goal with a corner kick, crossing the ball expertly but not finding any open teammates. When a second corner arose minutes later, Swenson crossed right in front of the goal for a strike that was nabbed expertly by the Eagles' goalie.
The Miners pushed harder and were physical when the game demanded. Senior midfielder Anni Efinger led the Miners in using well-maneuvered headers to counter the Eagles' attempts to advance the ball.
"We dominated the game in the air," Cook said. "Our team isn't afraid to play strong, physical soccer. If you're afraid to take a hit, that's when you get hurt. You have to eat or be eaten."
As the half approached, the ball rarely entered the Miners' defensive end. Efinger helped keep the Eagles at bay at the midfield line while junior forward Jessie Dancy attacked the goal with countless shots.
Junior midfielder Devon Dunmire reflected the dedication of the Miners with a sacrificing dive to keep the ball in bounds minutes before halftime. Dunmire not only succeeded in keeping the ball in play, but also managed to keep possession with the Miners.
The second half ignited with both teams looking eager to end the stalemate. The Miners immediately set a precedent of ball control, rarely giving Juan Diego a chance at entering the offensive side of the field. Shots came in rapid succession for the Miners as they looked for an opening to finally knock one in.
The first goal came towards the middle of the second half as Dancy sent a strong cross to the middle and found Swenson open for a marvelous diving header. The sidelines erupted in long, drawn-out "Mi-ners!" chants.
The Miners kept up the pressure in the final 15 minutes of the match before junior midfielder Maggie Reigelsperger received another opportune assist from Dancy to score the second and final goal with a shot that slammed into the upper right-hand corner. Cook called it "a beautiful shot."
Cook said she was proud of Dancy's two assists and overall performance in Tuesday's game.
"She's just a playmaker out there on offense," Cook said. "She's been playing great soccer."
With the win at Union on Thursday, the Miners march on undefeated with a record of 10 wins, no losses and two ties. Senior goalkeeper Skye Mooney continues to shut out opponents, without conceding a goal in six consecutive Region 10 games.
Only four games remain before the playoffs begin in early October. Next week, the Miners will play at Uintah at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and will host Judge Memorial at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27.