Miners hold strong against Uintah | ParkRecord.com

Miners hold strong against Uintah

A.J. Casey, left, battles a Uintah defender for possession of the ball on Thursday afternoon. Casey scored two goals in Park City s 4-2 win. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record

After Uintah tied the score at two late in the second half of Thursday afternoon’s game at the North 40 fields, Park City senior A.J. Casey decided enough was enough.

When fellow senior Jessie Dancy sent a pass over the top of the defense with about seven minutes remaining, Casey raced a Uintah defender to the ball, took a couple dribbles and launched a shot that bounced off the keeper.

Casey didn’t quit, finding the rebound and sending it to the back of the net for what would be the deciding goal in Park City’s 4-2 victory.

Casey wasn’t done, though. A couple minutes later, senior Kenzie Bothner dribbled her way through the Uintah defense before sending a pass to Casey’s feet. This time, she drove the ball into the net on the first try.

The two goals were Casey’s first two goals of the season, and they couldn’t have come at a better time for the Miners.

"It was cool," Casey said. "Usually I’m more of a playmaker, but it was nice to kind of break out of that and be able to score."

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She added that her teammates gave her such good passes, it would have been hard not to score.

"Kenzie always plays pretty good balls, so if you make a good run, she’ll know exactly where to play it and that makes it so much easier," she said. "Usually you expect Jessie to shoot it, but you have to be ready for it to come off a defender or the goalie to ricochet it or something. They were both really good balls to me, so it was nice."

Park City coach Chip Cook said she was happy to see Casey find the back of the net a couple times. She added that Dancy played a really good game too.

"Jessie was creating a ton of opportunities and we just couldn’t quite finish them off," she said. "But I was happy because she created the opportunities and was patient getting in behind the defense."

Patience wasn’t the Miners’ strong suit on Thursday afternoon, however. Park City was whistled for several offside penalties throughout the game, but Cook said she appreciated her team’s aggressiveness.

"They tried to run an offside trap on us," she said. "An offside trap is tricky you live by the sword and die by the sword. You get someone like Jessie who’s running in behind and, if she’s onside, you can’t defend her she’s already past you. So I’m OK with a few offside calls as long as they figure it out and are working towards not getting called for it."

Overall, after a 7-0 win at Morgan on Tuesday and a hard-fought victory Thursday, Cook is pleased with the way the Miners are trending.

"Today was a gut-check game for us," she said. "[Uintah was] really, really aggressive. I don’t think they were dirty, they just put a ton of pressure on us and Morgan didn’t so much. I think today was an important mental game for us to show we had the grit and the heart to get through a tough, physical, aggressive game."

She added that she was happy with the cohesiveness the Miners displayed, something that had been lacking in previous weeks.

"You lose as a team and you win as a team," she said. "Today we won as a team. It’s important that everybody stepped up and played with heart and played with grit. It was awesome. You need to have these games throughout the season just to keep you honest and prepared for anything down the stretch."

But, as Casey noted, it’s important that the Miners keep working to improve.

"I think we need to work on our defensive postioning and not getting split," she said. "And we need to work on our possession rather than just kicking it over the top."

"Our back is having a bit of a hard time staying organized for the whole 80 minutes," Cook added. "They have the ability, we just need to spend a little more time teaching them what they need to do in certain situations."

Park City (5-3-2 overall, 2-0-1 in region play) will travel to Union on Tuesday. The Miners will host Waterford in a non-region game on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the North 40 fields.