As long the clock ticked during the 3A Utah state high school soccer championship game, Park City dominated. It was only when the clock finally stopped, that the Miners couldn’t control the outcome, losing to the Waterford Ravens 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday at Alta High School.
"We had our opportunities," Park City head coach Chip Cook said.
Through regulation and two overtime periods, both teams spent the bulk of the time on the Park City side. Park City had at least four legitimate shots on goal that either took unfortuitous bounces or hit the crossbar, denying Miners the one goal they needed to win. They would have only needed that one goal because the Ravens chose to spend their time playing for the tie by keeping a stingy defense swarming around the Miners’ forwards and Waterford goalkeeper Jeannie Woller making key saves.
"We had that game," Cook said after the game.
Park City defender Zoe Van Gorder agreed.
"I felt we dominated the whole game," she said. "We had so many shots on goal. There was just unlucky stuff. If feel like we won the game in spirit. We put everything on the field."
The momentum in the shootout was pretty even in the beginning. Park City goalkeeper Cassie Palmacci was able to knock away a ball shot high and to the center by Waterford’s Cami Phillips. Woller answered by stopping a shot by Park City’s Rachael Ritter. From there the two teams exchanged four goals that all went past the keeper.
"Penalty kicks are notoriously hard to save," Cook said.
Then, in a sudden-death shoot out, the Ravens’ Hailey Karg knocked one low and to the right before Palmacci could stop it. The Miners sent in Rachael Pack for the next kick, which went over the crossbar and gave Waterford the state title.
The day before, Park City had dodged a bullet in the semifinals as a good defense from Juan Diego effectively took the Miners out of their game. Both teams scored in the first half but managed to contain each other through the rest of regulation and overtime until Hannah Terry came though at the end. The Park City forward, who had already scored nine goals in the postseason at that point, including the Miners’ score in the first half, was able to time her goal perfectly six minutes into overtime, as she broke free, ran down the field and sent her shot past Juan Diego’s goalkeeper, Allison Bruder.
The real game saver on Friday may have been Palmacci, who made numerous big saves to keep Juan Diego from getting the upper hand in regulation, and came up with another big one in overtime.
"Cassie came up with some huge saves, Van Gorder said Saturday. "I think you give that whole game to her. Without her, we wouldn’t be here today."
"Cassie was totally composed," Cook added.
The Miners seemed to have regained their bearings and were back to playing their style of soccer in Saturday’s final, but just couldn’t connect with the net.
"One thing I was super proud of was that they had a sub-par day Friday and brushed it off against Waterford," Cook said.
This was the third time the Miners played Waterford this year, battling them to a tie early in the regular season and then moving by them easily 4-1 later on.
"As the season went on, we gained momentum," Cook said.
Park City will now graduate a large senior class, with many players, including All-American Lindsi Lisonbee, going on to play in Division I college soccer programs.
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