Miners’ sights set on State
It has been a winning season for the Park City Miners girls’ volleyball team. On Wednesday, the team officially sealed the deal by winning its final region match, on the road against Uintah, 25-14, 25-21, 25-18.
The Miners achieved the region championship in a convincing way. Not only did they sweep the Utes in three games but they combined for 38 kills and 56 digs. The win also meant that Park City finished region play undefeated, 10-0.
Now the girls have just a few day before the state championship tournament at Utah Valley University (UVU), which could prove to be a whole new experience for them. They’ve been there numerous times before, but it has been decades since they came in as a No. 1 seeded region champ with a flawless region record.
The Miners will start the competition with a game against Delta, which finished fourth in Region 8, on Thursday afternoon. A win in that match could begin a march to the state finals that will be held Saturday.
Head coach Donna Hall said that, as the top seed, the march will be easier than it’s been in past years, but she doesn’t want to make any predictions.
"I would like to think we wouldn’t have any trouble in the first rounds," she said.
Park City played Delta last year, but Delta was a different team then and, of course, so was Park City. Still, the Miners are well aware that the teams from down south are usually very talented.
"Southern Utah teams are tough," she said.
Hall said that the Miners are feeling confident, but right now they are working on adding the consistent focus and determination that will be needed to face the state’s toughest teams.
"They have got to be on their toes and ready to play," she said
Park City assistant coach Dusty Dvorak scouted some of those top teams at a tournament a few weeks ago and thinks that the Miners will be able to compete with them this year. Hall said that although the team has played well all season and obviously has gone on a winning tear, there have been some matches where the Miners have dropped a game or two. At state, she said, they will have to focus on playing their best in every single game in order to be standing at the end.
"They have the ability to compete," Hall said. "But they haven’t played out of their minds yet. We have to play all of the games at the top level."
They will also have to make sure their offense and defense is strong the entire time. Hall said she believes the team could beat anyone defensively, but offensively there are things the Miners will need to compensate for to keep up with best. With the loss of Samantha Stanger at the beginning of the season, the Miners lost the third member of their impressive outside-hitter triumvirate. Still standing are six-foot-plus players Nicole Bishop and Lizzy Silverstein, but others players will need to play their best to make up for the lack of size that has existed since Stanger was knocked out of that third position.
"Our defense has to work a lot harder when we don’t have one of those big blockers," she said.
Despite the Miners’ record, some schools are still having trouble believing their meteoric rise to the top.
"They feel like they have something to prove," Hall said.
The Miners will play Delta at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at UVU in Orem.
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Court report: Week of June 22