Park City begins journey to state title
The Park City boys’ soccer team moved a step closer to winning their fourth state title in a row on Wednesday, defeating the Snow Canyon Warriors 4-2 at Quinn’s Junction in the first round of tournament play.
The victory extended the Miners’ winning streak to 10 consecutive games, the longest any team has achieved this season in the 3A division. With one play-off win under their belts, the Miners are confident they can continue the streak all the way through finals.
"We’re going to win state," sophomore Michael Glenn said. Glenn scored two of the Miners’ goals. "We can do it if we keep playing the way we’re playing."
Senior Paul Hanley expressed more reserved enthusiasm.
"The play-offs is a whole other game. The intensity picks up," he said. "There’s no doubt we have the potential to win But you never know what’s going to happen. Things have to go our way."
Early on, the game appeared to be leaning in the Warriors’ favor. Snow Canyon played aggressively in the first half, taking an early lead while the Miners struggled to regain control. The shaky start had some Park City players worried.
"They were ahead of us for a while there. I was getting scared," said senior AJ Gitlin. But he wasn’t concerned about the final outcome. "We beat them before," he said.
Behind 2-1 at the half, Park City rallied back after the break, first taking advantage of a corner play when the Warriors kicked the ball out of bounds, then sealing the victory with two more goals, one each from Gitlin and Glenn. Glenn’s points were the first he scored of the season after missing much of the first part with a knee injury.
"I had more chances [than in previous games]," Glenn said. "I just ran as hard as I could. They were perfect plays."
Head coach Mike Guetschow said he was pleased with the results, particularly with how the team handled a last-minute switch in the line-up. Starting junior Wes Uribe fell ill the day before the game, putting sophomore Adam Laufer in his place on short notice. "Wes has started every game," Guetschow said. "He pulled up sick, and Adam had to step in. He did a great job."
The Miners will travel to Logan on Saturday for the second round of tournament play. Logan, who defeated Uintah 6-1 on Wednesday, is the top-ranked team in Region 11. Although Logan poses a significantly tougher threat to the Miners’ bid for another state title than Uintah might have, the Miners are unfazed by the battle ahead.
"I’d rather play Logan [than Uintah]," Hanley said. "I’m up for a challenge. If we can get past them, the rest of the tournament will be much easier."
Guetschow said he didn’t care which team he played.
"I’d rather be at home, honestly," he said. "To be state champs is our goal every year, and I think we’re fully capable of winning a fourth [title] in a row."
The winner of the Saturday’s game will face either Dixie or Delta at the state quarter-finals May 11 at Dixie State College.
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