Whitney Wakefield, left, and Tressa Buckland block a North Summit volley in a non-region match earlier this season. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record
Whitney Wakefield, left, and Tressa Buckland block a North Summit volley in a non-region match earlier this season. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record

The 2013 season has been up and down for the Park City High School volleyball team.

After starting out the year with a 9-5 record, the Miners will enter the first round of the 3A state tournament on Friday morning with an 11-11 mark.

But the playoffs provide a fresh start, and PCHS coach Ashley Driscoll is confident that the Miners have the potential to make a deep tournament run.

"If they play really hard, we can go as far as we want to go," she said. "We've seen what we can do if we come in focused and play hard."

Getting back to the basics will be a key for Park City after the team struggled its way to only two region wins (both against Juan Diego).

"We're just focusing on what we can control on our side of the court," Driscoll said. "We've changed our offensive plays a little bit. We've also been working on getting our serving a little more precise and tougher."

The time off between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs has been just what the doctor ordered for the Miners.

"We haven't had to focus on preparing for a specific match, so we've just been working on the basics," Driscoll said. "We've had a couple weeks to dig in and focus on that."

Getting back to full strength as a team has been another positive side effect of the time off, Driscoll added.

"We've had a tough go with illnesses and injuries," she said. "Having everybody back healthy has helped us prepare."

And the improvement is evident. Driscoll said her squad is looking as good lately as it did in the non-region season.

Continuing the positive momentum throughout this week will be crucial, as the Miners have a tough opening round matchup against Region 9 champion Desert Hills. Park City, the No. 4 seed from Region 10, will have its hands full, but Driscoll thinks the Miners are up for the challenge.

"They've done a really good job of staying focused," she said. "They're ready to go and they're committed to doing well in state."

Park City's match against Desert Hills is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, at Utah Valley University in Orem. Win or lose, the Miners will play again at noon in the double-elimination tournament. If Park City makes it through those two matches without a loss, it will play again on Saturday, Nov. 2, with games beginning at 9 a.m.