No. 4 Lehi upsets top seed Park City girls soccer in first round of playoffs
Lehi was not supposed to upset Park City’s girls soccer team last Wednesday. The top-seeded Region 11 Miners were 11-1, earning that spot after edging out Bonneville through 3-2 goal differential. Lehi, on the other hand, was 8-4 in Region 10.
However, Lehi was on the upswing. In mid-September the team turned its season around and started blowing out its opponents with a 4-0 win over Spanish Fork, a 5-1 win over Payson, then back-to-back 3-0 wins over Mountain View.
On Wednesday, two goals – one from a penalty kick, and one from a free kick outside the box – gave Lehi the match, 2-0, over Park City.
“It was a great season,” coach Micaela Carriel said on Monday. “The girls really picked up their play and were able to clinch being region champions, so that is something we are extremely proud of.”
This was the team’s first time winning the Region 11 tournament since it was redesignated two years ago. Before that, the Miners tied for the region title with Stansbury in Class 3A’s Region 10.
Looking back, Carriel said the highlight of the season was the character the team showed.
“With any season, you have highs and lows, and no matter if we were on a high or we were on a low, the girls conducted themselves in such a professional manner,” she said.
Also memorable was the Miners’ rivalry with Bonneville.
The Miners lost to the Lakers 1-0 in double overtime in their first meeting in Washington Terrace on Sept. 4, giving the Miners their first loss of the regular season.
“For us, Bonneville was more of a mental struggle than a physical struggle,” Carriel said. “The first time we played them, we went in scared for whatever reason, so we didn’t play our game. And at the end of the first time we played them, the girls realized we can hang with them.”
In the rematch on Sept. 4, the Miners beat the Lakers 2-1 at home.
“It was nice to see them turn it around the second time we played them,” Carriel said.
Seven of the team’s players will graduate this season, including Rachel Baniewicz, McKinna Lee, Kate Young, Megan Guetschow, Mac Reed, and, notably, starting goalkeeper Emme Keizer and starting midfielder Catalina Conn.
However, the team’s rising class of nine juniors comprised the bulk of the team’s starting lineup, including forwards Stephanie Burnham, Lauren Hoglin and Shay Smith, midfielders Grace Dalton and Isabella Criscione, and defenders Avery Lane, Tatum Neville and Coral Crossland, alongisde sophomore striker Megan Lusher.“A great thing about this program is within the last year it’s really become very deep, so we weren’t relying on one athlete to carry us through,” Carriel said. “It was a team effort from the beginning to the end of the year.”
While the team will recover from losing its seniors, Carriel said she would miss the girls in this year’s class, saying they exemplified how the team’s leaders should act.
However, she said next year’s team will have to be careful to avoid this season’s result.
“I think the goal for next season is not to get ahead of ourselves,” she said. “I think winning region was a great accomplishment, but also our biggest curse.”
She said Lehi’s skill surprised Park City.
“The girls overlooked Lehi, and weren’t really prepared to play, so we didn’t come out and dictate the way we usually do,” she said. “Lehi did, and that was the difference.”
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Park City plays in the toughest region in 5A, and coach Purcell believes that mental toughness will help turn the season around.