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Park City narrowly loses to Juan Diego

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

The Park City High School volleyball team’s 3-1 loss to Juan Diego on Tuesday is a bit misleading. Yes, the Miners did lose the match, but their losing margin in each game was three points or less, finishing 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-22 the Soaring Eagle is one of the top-ranked programs in 3A.

"They [the Miners] played a phenomenal game," Park City head coach Gray Davis said. "They dug most of the balls and that’s what I’m most concerned with."

Unfortunately, the Miners are still reeling from the loss of Samantha Stanger, their most powerful outside hitter, who tore her ACL in the Dixie Tournament over the weekend. That’s a problem against a strong team like Juan Diego which boasts a strong group of background hitters. Without Stanger, Davis has had to quickly realign his starting lineup to make up for the loss.

"We’re still at the early stages of formulating and gelling our team," Davis said.

A key part of that plan will be further honing Park City setter Aundrea Hargroder to also become the team’s go-to hitter. Davis doesn’t think this adjustment will be too much of a problem.

"That’s who she is," Davis said. "She like to hit. We’ll have to get creative on how Aundrea can get the ball more."

She is already one of the team’s strongest offensive factors.

"She was as powerful offensively as defensively," Davis said. ‘She dug and worked to find the gaps in the defense to create kills for us."

He also hopes to start utilizing six-foot, five-inch Nicole Bishop more to defend against strong back lines.

What Park City did have against Juan Diego was conditioned. Davis said that the Soaring Eagle looked pretty winded by the end of the match, while the Miners’ energy helped them to keep the score close throughout the evening.

"We were outmuscled, not outconditioned," Davis said.

Davis also said that with such a narrow loss, the team should easily bounce back and be ready for other preseason foes like Carbon next week and Waterford in the regular season.

"It was tough," he said. "Its not like they are out of our league. All of the matches were within two points. The girls are tough."

It was another close call for the Miners on Thursday night when they welcomed Grantsville to their home court. Park City took the Cowboys to five games, but ultimately lost the match, 25-12, 18-25 26-24, 22-25, 15-13.

In the coming days, Davis said he will continue to work with the team on their offensive strategy, but feels that defensive strategy is working. With state powerhouse Carbon next up on the docket, a complete strategy will be necessary. This is Davis’ first time coaching six-man indoor volleyball, and he is still gaining the girls’ trust on his plays and schemes. He said offensively the team will need to get creative on hitting techniques to make up for a weaker back line.

The Miners will test those skills when they travel to face Carbon on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.


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