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Miners save best for last vs. Judge

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff
Sammy Baker slams down the ball.
2006919__1Sports

Park City head volleyball coach Ed Potts has been noticing an interesting pattern in his team this season.

They like to be the Comeback Kids.

He noticed that often in opening games his team would struggle only to come back and win multiple games and take the match.

"It’s something we’ve done all year,’ Potts laughed. "We’re consistently bad in the first game. I don’t know what it is. We just need that wake-up call."

The trend got more interesting on Tuesday when the Miners dropped a close match to Wasatch (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 12-15) in their first game of Region 10. Potts could only hope that it meant they would win the next few matchups.

Thursday’s win over Judge (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 15-9) seems to suggest that only good things are to follow.

The Miners struggled at the end of the first game against the Bulldogs and dropped the first game only to come back and win two close games. Judge took game four, forcing the bitter rivals into a tie-breaking fifth game. Potts made an important- match-saving substitution in the final game with Lisa Hibler at the outside hitter position. Her fresh arms and energy helped her to serve the last four points that won the game.

The Miners were led by the Kelly Barber with 11 blocks and Lauren Deane added nine kills. Deane recently transferred from Judge, so beating her old school was very important.

"There’s a lot of motivation," Potts said. "She played hard and wanted it very badly."

Park City’s 1-1 record puts the team in a third place tie with Uintah behind Morgan and Wasatch, but key games this week should change the standings. Potts said that the Miners’ ability is evenly matched with Wasatch and slightly better than the Bulldogs, so he hopes to see the team move up in the rankings. They face Uintah on Tuesday on the road (game played after Park Record presstime) and the host Union at home on Thursday. If the Miners can steal a road game and then use home court to their advantage they will likely take the No. 2 slot, because Morgan and Wasatch play each other this week and one team will lose.

To be in driver’s seat so early in the season is exciting for the Miners. So far they have already been more successful than they were during the entire 2005 season. Potts says that the biggest difference is confidence that they carry into each subsequent game.

"When you know you can win and you know you’re not cursed, it allows you to relax a bit more," Potts said.

In order to continue a Region 10 win streak, Potts says that the Miners will need to become more consistent in their serving, maintain good passing and continue to hit well.

"We have some of the better hitters in the state," Potts said.

In practice, Park City has been focused on being prepared for every game, so that they don’t lose any more close ones in league play. Team play has also helped Park City. Potts attributes the strong play of setters Alex Shearer and Megan Woodard for getting the entire team involved in recent games.

If the Miners can capture a second place slot behind state title contender, Morgan, it will also help their playoff prospects. Potts is confident that they will earn one of the four playoffs seeds, but wants to avoid a high one, which would pit them against another state championship caliber team like Carbon.

"We’ve absolutely got to beat these guys this week," Potts said. We can’t put ourselves in a better place."

The Miners host Union on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Park City High School gym.


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