Park City girls soccer beats Bonneville to take region lead
The last time Park City girls soccer played against the Bonneville, the Lakers won 1-0 in the second round of overtime. That match, on Sept. 4, was the Miners’ first region loss of the season, and since then Park City has won every one of their games, including a hard-fought rematch against the Lakers on Wednesday at home.
“Our first half wasn’t the best but we really pulled through,” said Park City sophomore striker Megan Lusher. “We did a lot of combinations in the middle and I think that led to really good through-balls especially in the second half.”
The Miners, pushing against a strong headwind in the first half, had trouble breaking through the Lakers’ defense, and throughout the half, the two teams traded possession regularly.
With three minutes until halftime, Lusher, who scored both of the Miners’ goals, put the Miners on the board with a close-range shot off the keeper’s fingertips and into the upper net, which her teammate Stephanie Burnham teed up with a cross-field pass.
The opening score put pressure on Bonneville going into the second half, but the Miners were not out of the proverbial woods.
A one-goal loss to the Miners still would have given the Lakers a better record (on goal differential) heading into the state playoffs, and would have given Bonneville a better seed than the Miners, assuming both teams win their last matches of the regular season.
Lusher’s second goal, however, changed the weight of the game.
A long ball from the Miners caused some trouble for the Lakers’ back four. Then, a sloppy trap under pressure by a Lakers defender gave Lusher the chance to shoot again at close range, and she drilled the ball past the keeper.
“We work on following a lot in practice, so it was kind of one of those moments where you just go for it,” Lusher said.
Suddenly, the Lakers were in a must-score scenario if the team wanted to hold its position as Region 11 leader.
Bonneville had a chance to score in the last 10 minutes of the match when the referee called a penalty kick against the Miners for a late tackle. Bonneville’s central striker took the shot, but it went wide of Miners goal.
When the final whistle blew, the Miners cheered and hugged each other, having taken over the region’s top position.
“All of our hard work in practice really paid off today,” Lusher said. “We’ve been looking up to this game and all our practice has been leading up to this.”
She said the team had been practicing playing man-down defense, with practice scenarios like 3 vs. 2 and 4 vs. 3 to combat the Lakers’ 4-3-3 formation.
The Miners will finish their regular season with a match against Juan Diego (4-8-1 overall, 3-6 in Region 11), on Oct. 1 at Juan Diego High School at 6 p.m.
The first playoff game is on Oct. 10. The time, location and opponent have not been announced.
In the U.S., doping is illegal in major sporting events, but not a criminal offense. A new resolution, endorsed by U.S. Ski and Snowboard, recommends changing that.