Park City girls soccer beats Bountiful to advance in 5A playoffs
Overcoming adversity while keeping composure is now a staple of the Park City girls soccer program.
The No. 12 Miners have taken coach Micaela Carriel’s lessons to heart following their 3-1 victory over No. 21 Bountiful in the first round of the 5A UHSAA state playoffs. After a first half that ended in a tie following a late Braves goal, Park City closed the game strong with goals by forward Chloe Shewell and defender Bella Criscione en route to the win.
“We are super excited to move to the next round,” Criscione said. “Going into the game today, we knew we had to had to push it because it’s the playoffs and everyone is competitive. Today was really cold but we were ready for it and because it’s one and done, we just went out and played our game and got the job done.”
The second half proved to be a physical one with multiple fouls being called and trash-talking becoming part of the norm.
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The more the Miners controlled the pace and possession of the game, the angrier the Bountiful players got., resulting in the fouls and warnings given out to the Braves by the head official. Rather than retaliate, Park City continued to play its game, just as Carriel taught.
“The character of the team is something that we’ve instilled in this program and you play to you and ignore the rest,” Carriel said. “I was more proud of the character that we showed than actually getting the ‘W’ because we constantly rose above it. There was chippiness both verbally and physically but we constantly rose above and proved it on the scoreboard.”
The Miners’ performance was a far cry from their first round upset 2-0 at the hands of Lehi last year, a game from which that Carriel and her girls have moved on, according to them.
Park City, as the No. 1 seed from Region 11, hosted Lehi, the No. 4 seed from Region 10. In a game that the Miners were expected to win, they saw snow on the ground and struggled with the pressures of the playoffs, letting the distractions get to them as their season came to an end following the 2-0 loss.
“Last year, the girls had some playoff jitters and we didn’t perform as we wanted too,” Carriel said. “There were some things with weather and what not but make no excuses, the other team showed up and we didn’t is kind of what it boiled down too.”
When asked if this win officially puts last year’s disappointing finish behind Park City, Carriel was very adamant in her response.
“I never live in the past so last year doesn’t mean anything to me,” Carriel said. “We were bumped up to 5A this year and once again the girls have responded and we now we made it to the second round of playoffs. … Which is a big accomplishment for us because it’s 5A.
This time around, defender Maude Crossland got the scoring started for the Miners in the first half. On a shot attempt that could’ve easily been a pass by Shewell, the Bountiful goalie was unable to control the ball and Crossland was right there for the finish.
The Braves countered with a goal late in the first half as the Miners, who after scoring first, softened a bit on defense and let up on the intensity. Bountiful seized the moment to tie the game off of a bad Miners turnover.
“Everyone we play is going to be tough, we know that and we can’t let up anymore even after getting a lead,” forward Stephanie Burnham said. “This win means a lot because it shows we are getting better and better but it doesn’t mean that we are done yet. We’ll come back tomorrow and get right to work for next week’s game.”
Park City came out on fire in the second half, playing a technical and possession-based game that yielded two goals on back line plays.
Shewell gave the Miners a lead 10 minutes into the half when she took a long pass from midfielder Lauren Hoglin, and after outrunning a Bountiful defender, fired from the right corner and banked the ball in off the post.
Criscione put the game away 10 minutes after that when a pass from Burnham found her on the right side of the field. She then fired a shot over the head of the Bountiful goalie to complete the score. “It was great to get that goal and helped push our lead more,” Criscione said. “Stephanie fed me a great ball and then I just saw the goal and tried hit it. … It just happened to go in so it was great feeling knowing I helped us in that way.”
Park City will now look to do something it hasn’t done since 2013 – advance to the quarterfinals.
Standing in the Miners’ way is No. 5 seed and Region 6 champion Skyline. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Skyline in Millcreek on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Despite Skyline’s 15-1-1 record, Carriel says her and her girls aren’t scared of the moment, in fact, they’re beyond excited about going on the road and being the underdog once again.
“It’s great to host but I think it puts just a bit more pressure on you because you have the target on your back,” Carriel said. “I personally think we do better as the underdog so I’m really excited for Tuesday. Us against the world is a place we like to be and a place we shine at.”
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