Miners girls soccer moves in right direction after mentality change
Two weeks ago, Park City head coach Micaela Carriel and her girls soccer team were at a crossroads.
On one hand, the Miners were off to a decent start considering their jump up to Class 5A, sitting at 2-2-1 on the year. But on the other hand, Carriel and the girls weren’t satisfied, having been outscored 12-2 in their losses, including a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Region 8 foe Maple Mountain on Aug. 22.
“When any team goes up and down, there’s a level of frustration because they know what they’re capable of,” Carriel said. “They’ve seen highlights in little spots of what they’re capable of but they’re not always showing up. I would say there’s been a lot of frustration. … Last week was a week of frustration that could’ve possibly derailed our season.”
That frustration seems to have passed as a change in mentality has sparked a turnaround for the Miners, including a two-game winning streak over Region 8 teams.
“As a team we are now working a lot on and off the field to really make sure that we’re connecting as a team,” captain Lauren Hoglin said. “Before we were playing a really individualized way of soccer, but now we are connecting the dots and turning the corner.”
The turnaround resulted in a 5-0 victory over region opponent Salem Hills on Tuesday and continued with a 1-0 victory over Payson on Thursday.
“I think we are sick of being in that rut, not being able to play our game and be ourselves and not play as a team,” captain Coral Crossland said following Tuesday’s win. “I think today we all decided it was time to push through and just be together as one. Hopefully today is a good show of turning the corner and a start of the uphill for us. … If we keep building on this, we can go really far.”
Carriel says the change in mentality started to take shape when she attacked practices a little bit differently than what she’s used too. While openly acknowledging that she asks a lot from her players, Carriel realizes that this year has been different than others in that “it’s taken them a little bit longer to find their footing.
“It was a rough week and you can see from the previous score box last week that we haven’t been playing the way we want or how we’re capable of playing,” Carriel said after Tuesday’s victory. “I’m really proud of my team, really proud of the resilience this team is showing because it’s hard to come out of these slumps but that’s what we are doing now I believe.”
The frustrating part for Carriel and the Miners was that, during the slump, neither the players nor the coaches could pinpoint exactly what changes needed to be made.
Carriel acknowledged some of the hardships the girls were going through at the time. Starting school on the same day as the first region game was enough to throw the girls into a minor funk.
“Beforehand we had a blissful two weeks where we didn’t have to deal with school, we could just focus on soccer, and us” Carriel said. “Then there’s a massive transition with school starting and that’s a lot to tackle for anyone. … I mean they’ve been sleeping in till 1 p.m., but now they have to get up early and their day is now done by 1 p.m. That’s a lot to ask for.”
In addition to that transition, the Miners were going through a technical change in their style of play, a completely different way of soccer than what they were used to playing in the past. “We are playing a much more technical style, taking a much more clinical approach to the game that should help us in the long run,” Carriel said. “We focus on connecting more, building up through the back to the middles and forwards. It’s a big change but I know we can do it.”
But those hardships, the Miners hope, are in the past.
Now the Miners are playing at a level they’re accustomed to, getting the results they want and doing so in a way that continues to bring the team closer together.
“I feel as a team we’ve always been physically fit but and not so much mentally all the time,” Crossland said. “We tended to overthink things a lot but that can’t be the case anymore. We have to understand that we are good, actually very good and embrace that talent instead of shying away from it.”
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