Miners win third straight region match with sweep over East
Park City improves to 3-3 on the season
While the Park City volleyball team’s brutal non-region schedule resulted in being swept in three consecutive matches, the Miners have righted the ship in region play. They were 2-0 against Region 6 teams after a sweep of Highland and a 3-1 win over Murray heading into Tuesday evening’s clash against East.
The momentum didn’t stop against the Leopards.
The Miners dominated from the opening serve through the final point of the match, earning a quick 25-11, 25-14, 25-13 sweep for their third straight win in region play. Park City sits at .500 for the first time all season at 3-3, while East dropped to 2-6. However, stiffer challenges lie ahead for Park City with Olympus (7-5, 2-1) and Skyline (16-2, 3-0) up next on the schedule.
“I do believe that the measure of a true Miner — we always call true Miners athletes of character — is sometimes how you respond when you lose, it’s also how you play when you don’t have to play your best,” Park City coach Matt Carlson said. “We felt like trying to find that passion to keep playing the game during the grind — there’s midterms going on — and so it’s tough. So, I think it was a good moral victory.”
The one issue that Park City faced heading into the game was a gaping hole at setter. One setter was out with a concussion, another was sick and one more had to miss practice and was unable to play in the first set. The Miners turned to junior Messana Haslock, and she filled in admirably with 18 assists and just three setting errors.
Senior twins Mattie and Cassie Prior helped their inexperienced setter get into the match by smashing Haslock’s sets for points early and often. Cassie led the team with 10 kills, while Mattie added another five.
“We had an interesting lineup with a few really young underclassmen that have never played varsity at all,” Mattie said. “We just wanted to make them feel awesome, so we did the best that we could to go swing away and make sure that we could get as many kills as we could.”
After taking a 5-3 lead in the first set, Park City scored 13 of the next 17 points to take a commanding 18-7 advantage. The comfortable lead turned into a 25-11 win.
The Miners had a similar first set against Highland last week, and Carlson opted to keep the starters in because he wanted to see how they responded. While the second set was close against the Rams, Park City’s starters didn’t let the other team hang around too long this time. After East narrowed the lead to 8-7, the Miners went on a 10-1 run to put the set out of reach.
“Good teams can beat great teams if they can be consistent, right?” Carlson said. “Seeing us lose focus against Highland that second set and to come back today and stay consistently focused with good volleyball, it’s really encouraging. So that just means we’re progressing, which we want to see.”
Park City’s reserves came in and performed just as well as the starters, earning a 25-13 win in the third set to complete the sweep. Both the first and second teams enjoyed a big night from the service line, combining for 22 aces as a team. The Prior twins had nine by themselves.
“I love getting kids opportunities to play because it helps develop the entire program,” Carlson said. “Your best competition should be in practice on the other side of the net, and so giving those guys those reps and doing well, it just makes our practice more competitive and helps you prepare against tougher teams.”
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Mattie Prior has taken over for the Miners after her twin sister, Cassie, broke her wrist.