Knights shine in OT soccer win | ParkRecord.com

Knights shine in OT soccer win

Matthew Piper, OF THE RECORD STAFF

If the preseason is any indication, Class 3A should be a breeze for Park City High School girls’ soccer team.

Mere seconds away from a 1-nil victory on Thursday at the North 40 field, the Miners (1-2-1) were forced to swallow a 2-1 overtime defeat to Class 5A Lone Peak. Still, they were able to take solace in another closely contested game against a much faster, deeper opponent than they will face in the regular season.

"I like the way this team confronts adversity," said Park City head coach Chip Cook. "We were on our heels in the first half. We weren’t playing our best soccer, the field conditions were a little tricky, the ball was moving extremely fast, and we were playing against a speedy, skilled team."

Torrential rain kept the location of the game in flux until the skies cleared and the teams agreed to play at the scheduled location – albeit on lush, soggy grass that slowed the players and led 30-yard passes to stop on a dime.

Chances were scarce in the first half, with Harvard-bound PCHS goalkeeper Bethany Kanten making a pair of diving saves to keep the score level at zero. Lone Peak ceded control of possession after the start of the second half as PCHS began to play with a visible confidence.

"We controlled the pace of the game a little bit more in the second half and just kept getting better as the game went on," Cook said.

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With just minutes left in regulation, the home team took a 1-0 lead after sophomore Fiona Morrison’s pass from the left side found fellow sophomore Savannah Shoon in front for an easy finish and her first goal of the season.

An upset was not to be for the Miners, however. They were caught on their heels in the box moments later and Lone Peak’s Mindy McDonald tied the game when her shot off the right post trickled in across the goal.

The whistle blew immediately after the restart, and the two teams’ coaches met on the sidelines for a long discussion. Lone Peak’s coach wanted to play overtime to prepare his team for that scenario, and Cook consented after raising objections about the possibility of injury.

"If I had my choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to play," Cook said. "We’re playing with such a skeleton crew as it is right now, but at times you just have to give in to the other coach’s will. He thought it was important and I understand: They wanted to see a game through in an overtime situation."

The undermanned Miners were dejected when they heard the news but mustered enough healthy players to retake the field. Not long after the start of the first overtime period, Lone Peak’s Mindy McDonald recovered her own rebound and scored high and left of Kanten to steal a win for the visitors. PCHS kept the tough-luck loss in perspective, however.

"They’re a good team," said Kanten, who plays with three Lone Peak players on her club team. "We lost bad last year (6-0), so it was a good game. I’m really happy with the way we played, especially since they’re 5A. We can hang with any team in 3A, I think."

Not only did they hang, but they did so with a roster replete with injuries and absences. Cook said her lineup is recovering from two mild concussions, a pulled quadriceps, a pulled groin, a pulled hamstring and an ankle injury. Junior Sophie Frankenburg and sophomore Katy Greene, both starters, are skiing for two weeks in Chile. Kanten also knocked knees with a Lone Peak player in the first half and was in pain until getting her knee iced at the game’s conclusion.

Cook said injuries are typical of the preseason, and that most should be healed by the start of the season. Most importantly, though, the Miners have proven they can handle a spell of adversity.

"We’ve got really deep talent," Kanten said. "If girls get hurt, we’ve got a lot of players to back them up. I’m feeling really good about this team. I think we can go a long way."

Cook credited Kanten for a series of diving saves and senior center back Siena Palmacci for continuing to adapt well to a defensive role that she hasn’t played for two years. Palmacci had knee surgeries in each of the last two seasons.

"She’s taking one for the team and stepping up into a huge leadership role," Cook said. Freshmen Maggie Reigelsberger and Jessica Dancy also won their coach’s praise.

In an earlier game, the Miners tied Class 4A Sky View at North 40 on Tuesday afternoon, with junior Sarah McInerney scoring the lone PCHS goal in the 1-1 affair. The Miners led after the half, but a sluggish start to the second led allowed the visitors to knot it up.

"I’m proud of the way this team keeps plugging along," Cook said. "They don’t give up, and they just keep getting better. It says a lot about their character."

The Miners have played all four games against Class 4A or 5A opponents.

"We’re making progress, and that’s what preseason’s for," Cook said. "It’s nice to win, but I don’t worry about the win during preseason. I just want them to know how far they’ve come in such a short time."

Park City will hit the road for games against Springville on Aug. 26 and Waterford on Aug. 31. They return home to open Region 10 play against Carbon on Sept. 2.