Women’s soccer ties in opener
Even though the Park City High School women’s soccer team tied 4A East High School 1-1 on Tuesday, the team finished ahead, said team coach Chip Cook.
The Miners took on East in their first non-regional match of the year, and something of an early test for the squad. Cook said that the team purposefully schedules tough games around the beginning of the season to get players serious experience and give them a bit of a challenge. The team also uses these early games to find out "where we saw people position-wise and how we worked together as a team".
Although the team will introduce a handful of new faces this year, mostly because many of the seniors played in non-school affiliated clubs last year, many of them have played with and around each other for years. Their team cohesion came along as they played a strong first half, controlling the ball well, but the team got a bit of the early season blues in the second half.
Rudy Schenk, East head coach, said that his team was very frustrated by the Miners’ strong defensive play in the scoreless first half. He explained that Park City really did a good job "keeping the ball away from us. Their defense was outstanding."
After the break, the Miners’ ball control weakened a bit and some faulty passing led to more turnovers. Hanna Terry did find the goal though, as the Miners scored early in the second half on a couple of good touches.
Some of the Miners’ woes in the second came from two key losses they sustained. One player was issued a yellow card on the merits of an overly physical header and took limited play afterward. Another defender checked out of the game due to injury. With only two substitutes and missing three other players, the Miners’ entire team was on the field for much of the second half.
Cook filled the gaps with other experienced players, but the transition was a little awkward for a few of the girls and the quality of the defensive play may have tapered off a bit.
East stepped up and took advantage of the personnel change, stealing much of the game’s momentum. During halftime, Schenk issued a challenge to players to step up their play, and they responded with stronger ball play, evening out the time of possession.
East’s only score in the game came in the second half on a finesse goal from Sara Wetzel around the 63rd minute which beat a few of the Miners’ defenders. Their score tied the game and that’s how it ended.
Cook said she was impressed with the physical play of her athletes and generally pleased with their overall maturity as a squad, especially this early in the season. Their frustration in the second half did not greatly concern her. She simply used it as fodder during practice the next day.
The Miners will continue on their learning curve with four more preseason games before they hit regional competition in two weeks. Their next game on Tuesday will pit them against another strong team, Skyview, a 5A squad playing out of Logan.
Even with such a tough schedule, Schenk said that the Miners will be a team to watch.
"Park City should go a long way, if not win it all," he commented.
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