Park City boys soccer clinches Region 11 title, playoff berth Wednesday
A fluke goal helped the Park City Miners boys soccer team clinch the Region 11 title on Monday in a 1-0 victory over Ben Lomond at Dozier Field.
With 10 minutes left in regular time, sophomore right wing Frankie Giaccio received a throw-in over his shoulder, which he tried to cross into the Scots’ six-yard box. His cross went high and drifted over the Scots keeper’s head for a goal, the game and the region title.
“I didn’t really have any intentions with that,” Giaccio said. “I was just trying to get it into the middle of the box.”
After the team missed earlier chances from closer range, coach Tom Merchant wasn’t about to turn his nose up at the goal.
“Missed opportunities may come to get you in the end, so we’ve got to be more cognizant of putting the ball in the net when we have it six yards away,” he said. “Then, Frank’s sky ball goes into the net. It doesn’t always make sense, but it’s nice to be on this side of it, that’s for sure.”
The goal was somewhat against the run of play, with the Scots claiming the majority of possession and threatening to score several times.
One of the Scots’ shots ricocheted off the crossbar with 26 minutes left in the game; another hit off the goalpost in a deflected free kick with six-and-a-half minutes left on the clock.
The Miners emerged victorious, if not totally unscathed.
Junior Will Wiest won’t be able to play in the first game of the Miners’ playoff run against Cedar High School due to a red card he received during the game.
He and Ben Lomond senior Alfredo Cano were sent off for an on-field tiff with 14 minutes left on the clock. Both were given straight red cards, though according to Merchant, the refs later admitted they didn’t have a clear view of the confrontation. He said Wiest may not have deserved the penalty, either.
“I feel bad about Will’s red card,” he said. “It’s not uncommon that they want to feel they are fair to everybody. And it might not have been him, they said. … We will miss Will for the next match.”
Starting Miners goalkeeper senior Aidin O’Brien, came out with a bloody nose in the first half. He was replaced by John Clifton, who played his part in the shutout.
O’Brien will return for the next match, as will George Pineda, who received a yellow card for a tackle as the game went into stoppage time.
The win puts the Miners through to the playoffs in a top-seeded spot.
“It’s the difference of two home games for the first two rounds versus going to St. George tomorrow,” Merchant said of taking the Region title. “We have a bus and hotel rooms on the way to St. George. We can now cancel them, because we’re (playing at) home.”
The Miners move into the post-season with a region record of 8-4 – which is not exactly a sterling record compared to other region winners.
Region 10’s Mountain View, for example, has a record of 10-2 But Merchant just sees those high-win records as evidence of weaker conferences.
“I think our biggest benefit of being in this region is, every game has been a battle,” he said.
With the exception of Tooele, who they beat 4-2 and 5-0, the Miners have not beaten or lost to a Region opponent by more than two goals.
“We are ready to battle right to the top of the state,” Merchant said. “Other guys may have been taking a picnic.”
Park City is set to defend Dozier Field in the first round of the Class 4A boys soccer playoffs against Region 9’s fourth-seeded Cedar City at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.