Miners celebrate home opener with bounce-back win over Brighton
Senior Emma Cusimano leads Park City with 11 kills
Volleyball finally returned to Park City High School Thursday night for the first time since last November, and the Miners celebrated their home opener by sweeping Brighton.
Senior Emma Cusimano dominated offensively, and some tenacious blocking helped Park City secure a 28-26, 25-17, 26-24 win over the Bengals on Thursday. Park City’s home opener came at a good time, as the Miners were looking to recover from a tough sweep on the road against Lone Peak on Tuesday. Park City improves to 3-1 (2-0 in region play) and will face East on the road on Tuesday.
“We’re still making some errors, but in the pursuit of trying to play at a really high level,” Park City coach Matt Carlson said. “It’s been really cool. The girls responded incredibly to all the different good things we’re doing and some of the errors that we’re making. They just responded well, and that’s just what you want to see as a coach. The energy from the fans, the energy on the courts and how they came together – it was a really fun, magical night.”
Park City excelled at blocking against Brighton, and it showed early. Senior Ashley Fannon and freshman Sabine Smith teamed up for a pair of blocks in the beginning of the first set of the match. Fannon, Smith and senior Kennedy Halper made life difficult for Brighton’s hitters at the net all night long. The three players combined for 17 total blocks in three sets.
“It was awesome,” Fannon said. “All of us have been working on timing and just all the little technical things. And I think it really came together tonight, and it was a good outcome.”
In addition to her team-high seven total blocks, Fannon had seven kills for the Miners, giving them a boost offensively and defensively.
“She talked about how she really wanted to focus on getting blocking better,” Carlson said. “Every time we were serving, she’d go through what she was going to do before it actually happened. Her focus was off the charts, and she had a heck of a game.”
But it was Cusimano’s night offensively. The senior was on fire for the Miners throughout the match, scoring a team-high 11 kills. Park City did a good job of spreading the ball around to players like Fannon, Smith and senior Lola Lane, but Cusimano was the hot hand against the Bengals.
“She’s been really buying into this new offense we’re running, and just to see it click was just super rewarding,” Carlson said. “She was just a cannon on the outside. She was just getting kills at will.
“I think for her specifically, it’s just a huge confidence booster, that she can be that girl, that Terminator that we need. It was fun to see her just grow as a player tonight. (She) was kind of that player that we all knew she is and could become.”
Cusimano helped give Park City a decent lead late in the second set and later scored the set-clinching point. She then started the third set by rifling a couple of kills, and the Miners went on to secure the sweep. Cusimano also had 10 digs against Brighton.
“We were running (the offense) pretty fast,” Cusimano said. “Everything was pretty good, tempo was awesome.”
It’s also homecoming week, making it the perfect time to play a home opener. Cusimano and the Miners enjoyed playing in front of a loud, spirited crowd and gave them plenty to cheer about.
“Crowd was good,” Cusimano said. “Probably the most turnout we’ve had in a long time, so it was nice to see everyone turn out.”
Park City Head Coach Pete Stoughton mentioned how his team will bring their trademark enthusiasm to what should be a relatively-rain soaked course, saying in a prepared statement, “we anticipate radiant smiles on all of our riders faces this weekend.”
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