When Juan Diego scored a goal off a corner kick early in the first half of Thursday afternoon's game at the North 40 fields, it looked like it might be the start of another long afternoon for the Park City High School girls' soccer team.
After battling injuries and dealing with a tough 4-1 loss to Mountain Crest last week, the team's strength was tested when it went into halftime down 1-0 in its first region match of the season.
But rather than give up or stop working, the Miners came out strong in the second half, blasting shot after shot at the Juan Diego goalkeeper before finally finding the back of the net to tie the game.
One goal was called off, one shot hit the far post and took an unfavorable bounce before being scooped up by the Juan Diego keeper and several shots were stopped by timely defense and good goalkeeping before sophomore Lindsay Gordon scored the equalizer.
Senior captain Maggie Reigelsperger chipped a beautiful pass above the Soaring Eagle backline, placing it right at Gordon's feet where she could finish with an easy shot.
"Maggie had a great game today," Park City coach Chip Cook said. "She also did a great job holding the center of the field for us and played a great holding mid[field] today."
Gordon's goal was the only other goal scored in regulation, so the game went into overtime. In double overtime, the referee stopped play right before a Park City corner kick, ending the game in a draw.
Cook said she was very pleased with the way her team stepped up after a disappointing loss last week.
"I thought it was a vast improvement," she said. "We improved in every aspect of the game."
Park City used a new system on Thursday, which Cook said worked out quite well.
"I thought our team play and our possession passing keeping it to feet was much, much better this time," she said. "Communication was better on the field and our connections as a team were stronger. I was also pleased with the pressure inside. It was a very physical game. There was a lot of shirt-grabbing and our girls handled it well."
But, Cook acknowledged, there's still room for improvement if the Miners want to challenge for a state title again this year.
"Are there some areas we could improve? Yes, but overall I think we did a great job for our first time working with a new system," she said. "We still need to work on maintaining our patience and not looking for the ball so directly forward. The [Juan Diego] goalkeeper got it way too many times today."
Still, Cook said there were many bright spots in Thursday's tie.
"A.J. Casey had, to date, her strongest outing," she said. "She was all over the place, creating opportunities for us. And we asked a couple people to play some different positions. We had Reese [Pearson] at center mid in the first half and then she played outside back in the second half and did a wonderful job back there containing her player."
And the team's overall hustle was the strongest it's been all season, she added.
"That was one of the things I wanted to work on today just keep moving, keep moving, keep moving," she said.
With players like senior captain Taylor Hodgson and senior Kenzie Bothner back on the pitch for the Miners, Cook said she expects big things moving forward in region play.
"It was great to have Taylor back anchoring our back line," she said. "And Kenzie got a little bit of a charley horse so she didn't play in overtime, but it's amazing what a difference she makes when she's in."
The Miners have two region games next week Tuesday at Morgan and Thursday at home against Uintah. Thursday's game will be played at the North 40 fields and will kickoff at 3:30 p.m.