Two-time state champions
May 12, 2009
As the Park City boys’ soccer team boarded a bus bound for the state finals Saturday morning, it was obvious that playing three high-stakes games over the previous four days had taken its toll.
"I had to help one of my players climb the stairs on the bus," said head coach Caro Caro.
But sore muscles and stiff joints weren’t going to stop the Miners from fighting for what they felt was rightfully theirs: the state championship trophy.
A mere 16 hours before departing for the final game of the season, Park City had defeated Ogden 1-0 in the semifinals. Penalty kicks, yellow cards, and heroic saves by goalkeepers on both sides marked what could only be described as a nailbiter for those on the sidelines and in the stands.
With the scoreboard frozen at 0-0 throughout most of the game, the Miners earned a penalty kick with nine minutes on the clock. The Ogden goalie deflected the shot by senior Adam Laufer, but the rebound landed at the feet of senior Tommy Martin, who moved it into the path of senior striker Michael Glenn for the game-winning goal.
After the game, many of the players agreed that they needed to step things up against Logan the following day. "We played a tough game," said Glenn. "We didn’t pass the ball around as much as we wanted to, but we got the job done."
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"I didn’t think we played our best game I definitely think we can control the ball more," said Martin. "I just think we need to focus on ourselves tomorrow. I honestly think it played out how it should the two best teams are in the finals."
When the team took the field Saturday afternoon, spectators would never have guessed the extent of the players’ fatigue.
The competition against Logan High School kicked into high gear about seven minutes into the game when the Grizzlies planted a strategic shot in the upper left corner of the net.
The Miners were surprised but not deterred by the early goal. Within five minutes of Logan lighting up the scoreboard, Laufer took a free kick that sailed just above the defenders’ heads and connected with Martin, who headed the ball in the direction of the net and followed up on the ground for a goal.
With both teams on high alert, neither willing to concede another point to the opposing team, the game stalled at 1-1 through the second half.
As the clock ran out on regulation play, both players and fans began to dread the prospect of a shootout, which pits individual players against the goalie in a series of high-pressure penalty kicks. The teams had two 10-minute, sudden-death overtime periods to get a point on the board and avoid a shootout.
The first overtime was in its final minutes when Park City sophomore Anthony Alcox took possession of the ball near the Logan goal and crossed it to Glenn, bypassing a Logan defender on the way. "I looked up and saw Mikey unmarked and I just knew if I could get it to him, he could do the rest and put it in," said Alcox.
With the ball tucked firmly into the folds of the net, the Park City fan base erupted into cheers and the Miners embraced one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments of sheer elation that encapsulate a hard-fought, well-deserved victory.
Following the presentation of the state championship trophy, Coach Caro described the win as extremely emotional. "These guys have shown time after time after time their resilience, their passion and their skills," he said. "When you think you know your players, they surprise you like this. This is so special. If I had a trophy for each one of them, I’d give it to them."
Goalie Jacob Siriani said he was a little nervous going into the game, but his teammates did their part to alleviate the pressure of playing goalkeeper. "From me all the way up to the strikers, everyone gave 110 percent today," he said.
Martin explained that the experience was especially poignant for the seniors, many of whom have been playing soccer together since they were five or six years old. "This was our last game ever together, so there was a lot of heart out there on the field. We truly wanted it," he said.
Michael Glenn said he was rendered speechless by the excitement, but found a way to sum up the team’s performance: "Everyone gave it their everything. No one held anything back. This is a perfect way to end a perfect season."