Miners lose heated soccer match
The scoreboard at Park City’s soccer field may have indicated a 0-1 loss for the Miners against Juan Diego on Saturday, but after a tight and controversial match that was ultimately determined by a referee’s call, the Park City boys walked away feeling undefeated.
Based on goals clearing the net, the Miners actually tied Juan Diego, 1-1. Park City’s Austen Stephens scored the first goal of the game, but his point was voided when a referee said that a foul occurred before the shot. The board remained scoreless until the last four minutes of the game, when Juan Diego’s Kevin Slynn gave the Soaring Eagles a narrow victory. The foul called on Stephens left many on the Park City side baffled
"That was ridiculous," senior Paul Hanley said. "I don’t know how you call a foul on the kid shooting the goal." Hanley said that influence from Juan Diego’s coach, Scott Platz, contributed to questionable calls all game. "The refs weren’t super in control," Hanley said. "I think the other coach intimidated them."
Platz held a commanding vocal presence throughout the game, often calling on referees to explain themselves and pointing out plays he thought deserved a whistle. At one point, a referee stopped play to respond to Platz. "You don’t know what’s going on out here," the ref said. "Shut it down."
But Hanley also said the team didn’t let Platz or the referees interfere with their level of play, despite the final outcome.
"We’ve dealt with stuff like this all year. It’s all about resiliency. We can’t let it bother us. And as long as we do our best, I can’t feel bad about a loss."
Coach Mike Guetschow said he respected the referees’ decisions and focused more on how competitively his team played. "I didn’t see the foul on Stephens," he said. "But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I actually feel really good about how things went. Juan Diego is the top ranked team in 3A and we’re ranked second, so it made this game more intense than others in the pre-season. But it is still pre-season. We’re still determining our line-up and experimenting with plays."
Guetschow said the Miners have had to develop younger players and mix up their style on the field to compensate for the absence of A.J. Gitlin, a senior captain who has traditionally been a key point-scorer for the Miners. Gitlin has remained on the sidelines this season with a knee injury. He will have surgery on his meniscus cartilage Tuesday. Guetschow said he hopes Gitlin will return for the latter part of the season. "Right now we’re missing his skill and leadership."
Hanley stepped up with leadership throughout much of the game, often shouting encouragement and telling his team to keep playing in the face of bad calls and jeers from the Juan Diego fans. But in an emotional game, even a seasoned veteran can lose his composure. Shortly after the game, a fight nearly broke out between Hanley and a Juan Diego player after the two exchanged words. Hanley’s teammates kept the verbal sparring from turning physical and Hanley later shrugged off the confrontation.
" In these games you never make it personal, but it happens. Kids get fired up."
Since Juan Diego and Park City are in different regions, the teams will have to wait until the state tournament to see each other again. But Guetschow says he thinks a rematch is likely. "We’ll have to wait and see," he said. The season is still young, but if the teams’ rankings provide any insight, the game could be a preview of the 3A state finals. Hanley said he looks forward to that chance.
"I absolutely think we can take them," he said.
The Miners will play next on Friday at Morgan High School, where they will look to improve their 1-1-1 record.
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