Miners sweep own tourney
One sentence summed it up.
"It was a good week to be a Miner," said Park City volleyball coach Ed Potts.
Whether it was shut outs in both tennis and soccer, or football’s upset of the No. 1 team in the state, the Miners were definitely having a week for the history books, but it was Potts’ team that capped it all off. In just two days, his girls volleyball team swept away the competition and blew the minds of everyone else as they sailed undefeated to the championship in the first-ever Park City volleyball tournament.
"I can’t remember winning like that in the eight years I’ve been here," marveled Potts.
The Miners’ winning ways started off on Friday night as they moved past Ben Lomand, South Summit and Canyon View.
"Each game, we kept getting better and better," Potts said. "We played South Summit really well."
Saturday offered another series of successes including key wins against the notable programs, like Ogden and then Waterford in the championship game. The Miners beat Waterford in three games, 25-28, 25-20, 16-14.
"There’s a lot of dedicated people lots of motivation," Potts said
He suspected that much of the girls’ drive came from the developments earlier in the week. In just a few days, the team lost their head coach, star player and freshman coach, yet still managed to pull themselves together to host the tournament.
"We lost all three in one swift blow. They had to rally each other," said Potts. "As sad as it was, it helped pull the team together."
The team was lead by its two senior captains, Lisa Hibler and Kelly Barber — who was named tournament MVP. Potts said that they both "really stepped up," but it was their leadership and positive attitude that really helped them work past the week’s disappointments and play well in the tournament.
They were joined by libero, Nicole Galvan, whom Potts said led the defense and passed well throughout the tournament.
"That makes it great for our hitters to have a great night," Potts said.
One of those included outside hitter, Kaleigh Nelson, whose consistency helped the Miners to win close games. She was joined by Lauren Deane, a transfer from Judge Memorial, who Potts says is quickly making herself known in the volleyball world.
"She’s clearly showing the state that she’s one of the best outside hitters in the state," Potts said. "We call her ‘bread and butter.’ Anytime we need a point, we send it right to her."
With the loss of star setter Andrea Hargroder to Skyline this year, Potts called upon Megan Woodard and Alex Shearer to step in, despite having all had junior varsity starts.
"They acted like they’d done it all their life," Potts said.
Potts said that the biggest difference he saw in his team was an attitude adjustment.
"Last year, we would have panicked," Potts said. "This year, they want the ball."
With the usual team leaders gone from the program, he said the team finally found a reason to make an effort and take the team in a new direction.
"I think that, for our seniors, we are using that as something to turn our program around. I think that this tournament was evidence," Potts said.
The tournament was also an excellent place for the girls to make a name for themselves among their own fans and other teams in the state.
"That’s the whole reason that Josh Fisher wanted to bring a tournament to Park City," Potts explained.
On Friday, when a rain delay on the football field forced the student body indoors, students and parents got a taste of how well Park City’s volleyball team was playing this season and came back on Saturday looking for more.
"It makes the school feel good and its fun to watch," Potts said.
The girls are now preparing for a road trip to Price to take on Carbon, one of the top teams in the state.
"We need to take this all in and get ready for Carbon," Potts said. "It’s the first real test of what kind of team we are."
The Miners will face Carbon on the road on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.