Soccer team opens season down South
It was a learning weekend for Park City head soccer coach Mike Guetschow. With his team on the road in sunny southern Utah playing Snow Canyon and Pine View, it was his first chance to assess the kind of team the Miners would be this season
Last year, he was the head coach of the state champions, but gone are most of the seniors that made up that all star team, and Guetschow is now trying to discover what talents and skills his boys will bring to the table this year.
"It’s going to be challenging to replace my quality seniors we lost last year," Guetschow said. "This year, we’re looking at the players and seeing how they will work in the system."
It was a bit of a slow start to the season for both the Miners and Snow Canyon, who had difficulty scoring in the first half of their opener on Friday.
Then, in the second half, the Miners bounced back, with AJ Gitlin scoring three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second. Park City also managed to keep Snow Canyon scoreless until the final minutes when the Snow Canyon converted on a penalty kick. Center midfielder Tommy Martin left the game with a concussion, which caused the Miners to struggle a bit, and the defense had to make a couple of stops, which eventually led to the penalty. Even though Park City goalie Jacob Sirianni was denied a shutout, Guetschow still praised his play in his second game as a varsity starter in the 3-1 win.
"He played good, he could have had the shutout," Guetschow said.
In the second game against Pine View, Guetschow knew that Park City would have its hands full. Known as the powerhouse of the South, Pine View came out ready to play. Still, the Miners held their own, creating a couple of chances in the first five minutes. In the fifth minute, Pine View made their move, scoring the first goal of the game. After that, the Miners settled down a created a few more opportunities, with Gitlin almost scoring 20 minutes into the game.
In the second half, the Miners began pushing forward to try and create another scoring opportunity. Pine View took advantage of the situation, launching an 80-yard counter attack and scoring another goal. They won the game 2-0. Guetschow said that even though the result was not what Park City had hoped for it was still an opportunity to watch his new players and enjoy the 75-degree Southern Utah weather. The game was also played on the field that will be used for the 3A state soccer finals.
Guetschow says he’s welcomes the healthy competition a new crop of varsity players brings.
"There are 15 guys trying to work out who is going to be the starters," Guetschow said. "We ran a bunch of guys through."
Center midfielder and stopper Adam Laufer was one such player who got a chance to show his skills in the Pine View game after a few injuries to some Park City starters. The sophomore played 70 minutes and Guetschow praised his ability to immediately step up and play well.
"We’ll try and find some time for him now,’ Guetschow said. "We’ve got to figure out how to work different people into plays."
The Miners are now looking forward to hosting their second home game on Thursday against Mountain Crest. The game will mark a number of firsts as the Miners play their first preseason game at home against a team they have never played.
The reason? The new field turf on Dozier Field.
The sports turf was plowed over the weekend and was ready to be used for the first game scheduled against Lehi on Tuesday. Mountain Crest asked the Miners if they could come and play them to get a look at their new field.
"With the field turf available, people are contacting us to play a game here rather than us going there," Guetschow said. On, turf the snow is plowed and the next day it’s in good condition."
The turf is also helping the Miners’ home field advantage. Not only do they not have to travel the entire month of March, but Guetschow has observed that the early season rough grass has contributed to Park City’s difficulty maintaining possession.
The Miners will put their early skills to the test on Thursday, March 15 when they host Mountain Crest at 3:30 p.m. at Dozier Field.
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