Park City volleyball falls to 5A champ Lone Peak in home opener
Miners steal set from the defending 5A state champions
September 1, 2017
In the fourth set of Thursday evening's match, the Park City High School girls' volleyball team found itself trailing Lone Peak High School 19-5.
The Miners were hosting the UHSAA 5A state champions in The Shaft at Park City High School, and were losing 2-1 in the overall match. The clinching set victory was on its way for the Knights, however, the fight within the Miners never wavered, as they battled to earn the next point to make the score 19-6 in that fourth set.
In the long run, the point didn't matter, as Park City would go on to lose the set 25-9 and, in turn, lost the match 3-1. However, head coach Matt Carlson couldn't have been more proud of his players in that moment.
"Every point had to be earned against these guys," Carlson said. "Our team went crazy and they're still cheering [while losing], so just showing that heart and grit is all you can ask for as a coach, because they never gave up. That is huge and I was really proud of the girls for that."
Lone Peak, a favorite to contend for the UHSAA 6A crown this year, showed its prowess from the beginning on Thursday evening by winning the first set 25-17, but the Miners were no pushover. In fact, they'd go on to have their best stretch of the night by stealing the second set 25-21 to tie the match up 1-1.
"Taking a set off of a team like that is a huge moment for our program," Carlson said.
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The final two sets of the match were tough going for the Miners, falling 25-9 in the final two consecutively. However, even when Park City was trailing by double-digit points, it was still making Lone Peak earn every point.
"It wasn't just serve and ace or anything like that," Carlson said. "It was a two-hour match that finished 25-9 in two sets. That's unheard of. At the end of the day, they just ended up getting more points, but we scrapped it out."
Last year, Park City finished fourth at the UHSAA 3A state tournament, but Carlson hopes to improve upon that after making the jump to 4A. In order to do that, the head coach purposely scheduled matches against tougher preseason opponents, like Lone Peak, so that the Miners will be prepared down the road.
"When we play against tougher 4A teams, [we'll be] battle tested," Carlson said. We're battle proven. We've seen it and fought in the face of that tough competition. So that is why we're doing that and why we love playing these tough teams. You don't really learn anything when you win, just when you lose. You have to fight for it."
While Carlson is quick to put the focus on the players rather than himself, there was also a unique aspect to last night's game, as the Lone Peak head coach is none other than Carlson's brother, Reed.
Though the brothers have joked about both winning state titles in the same year, the connection the two have with one another is beneficial for both Park City and Lone Peak.
"Obviously, we're super competitive," Carlson said of him and his brother. "I want to beat him and he wants to beat me. At the end of the day, it's just fun to see how we can help each other out. We'll talk after this and he'll give me some pointers on what he saw, give me some advice. It's good just to have that relationship with him."
Next up for the Miners is a road match at Stansbury on Tuesday evening. The first set is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.