Miners’ soccer squad strikes Union | ParkRecord.com

Miners’ soccer squad strikes Union

Matthew Piper, OF THE RECORD STAFF

When the Park City High School boys’ soccer team plays like it did Friday afternoon, it’s hard to believe it lost more than two thirds of its 2009 lineup to graduation.

The two-time defending Class 3A champion Miners (8-5 overall, 6-1 Region 10) formed a cohesive attack in a 4-2 win over Union at Dozier Field, working together with quick passes and intelligent movement to create space and generate an insurmountable four-goal lead.

"We were playing along the back nicely, opening up the holes in the middle," said junior midfielder Anthony Alcox, who scored twice. "We’d come through the middle and be able to get outside. We were just playing our own pace, compared to some of the other games."

Head coach Caro Caro said the Miners played the type of soccer they are capable of in the first half.

"The guys had a plan, and we’d prepared ourselves to display this type of game," Caro said. "I think it looked like the team was effective, efficient, and they were able to get it together."

The first major chance belonged to Union, when senior PCHS goalkeeper Ben Hess hung on despite a hard collision with a sliding offensive player about 20 minutes in.

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"Ben is becoming very consistent and very secure in goal," Caro said. "He’s showing us again that he should be leading this team."

Park City held most of the possession in the first though, and stayed patient instead of trying to force the action. Five minutes after Hess’s save, Alcox flicked the ball to himself over a defender’s head and then passed across his body to the left edge of the box, where a streaking Brian Park slotted it past the keeper from a tight angle.

"Brian is a very explosive player," Caro said of the junior. "He’s very talented. Unfortunately he’s been ill for a long time. He’s had the flu, he’s been sick, and then, of course, schoolwork got in the way, so he’s been missing a lot of practices. But having him in the playoffs is going to be a plus. He’s getting back to his form, so he needs to play a lot."

With 15 minutes left in the first half, senior Michael Turner drew a penalty when he went down in the box, and senior Matt Vallejo finished top left for a 2-0 lead. Four minutes later, a throw-in bounced to Alcox, who followed a rebound for a score off his head.

In the 67th minute, Alcox again collected a rebound and scored to go up 4-0. He had ample opportunities to complete the hat trick but hit the post and missed a pair of open shots.

"Anthony is a wonderful player," Caro said. "He has so much skill. There are some games where we have to count on a skillful play to lead us, and he did that in the first half."

"You play with the team," Alcox said. "When the team’s having their runs up top, it makes it a lot easier in the center for yourself because the space is there, even if the guy who doesn’t get the ball is making a run, he takes somebody with him, and you open up your own space. Then you just look up and see what you’ve got going for you and take your best shot and hope it works out."

The Miners’ stingy defense – led by senior Ryan Carroll and junior captain Eric Laufer – relented slightly late in the second half, allowing Ben Willard and Kevin Brighton to notch goals for Union.

"We lost focus on the game because it became physical," Caro said. "The guys started to get frustrated with that and lost focus. I’m glad that we were able to find the goals to stay ahead."

Caro said he will look for a non-region game in the coming week to take advantage of the ability to play outdoors.

"We’re at such a big disadvantage over everybody else that comes here, because they all have fields to play on and prepare," he said.