PCHS girls’ soccer aiming to conquer challenges in 2017 | ParkRecord.com

PCHS girls’ soccer aiming to conquer challenges in 2017

Young squad ushers in a new coach, new region

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

The Park City High School girls soccer team poses for a picture before a practice on Thursday afternoon. The team, led by new head coach Micaela Damas, is preparing for the start of the season on Wednesday at the Corner Canyon Tournament.

The upcoming season will be full of challenges for the Park City High School girls' soccer team.

The Miners have a completely different group this year. Not only did a handful of seniors graduate from last year's squad, leaving the 2017 version of the team to rely on a number of underclassmen, but the team also welcomes in a new head coach, Micaela Damas.

Additionally, Park City has been bumped up to 4A this season, meaning the girls will compete in a very tough region.

Despite all of that, Damas is confident the Miners are ready for anything that may be thrown their way throughout the campaign, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the players over the summer.

"We are pumped," Damas said. "We are so excited. It's a new program. It's a new season. And the girls really put in the effort over the offseason. They did all the work that they needed to do in the offseason and it's definitely showed [in tryouts and practice]."

Damas hosted tryouts throughout the first half of last week, putting the girls through the gauntlet to determine who would make the squad. With any fall sport, a coach typically doesn't know what he or she will get for the upcoming season.

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Kids are roaming around worry-free during the summer months, enjoying time away from the school, Damas said, adding it's easy for one to slack off or put an upcoming sports season on the backburner.

Damas, however, feels the group wasn't affected by laziness this summer.

"I was blown away," Damas said. "Impressed would probably be an understatement. We had preseason conditioning. We had preseason practices, but they were obviously doing things outside of those practices, and it showed. It showed in their fitness. It showed on the field. They were physically and mentally sharp, and ready for the season to start."

One player who has been impressive thus far, and will be relied upon as one of the team's leaders, is Casey Crawford. Some might remember the senior from last season, as she was one of the Miners' top goal-scorers.

Crawford reiterated the fact that she, along with her teammates, have been grinding this summer in order to reach the team's full potential.

"We're super excited to start the new season," Crawford said. "We've been working really hard this summer and we started really gelling as a team these last couple of days, so we're excited to see where we go this season."

The senior also had high praise for her new head coach.

"She's a great voice, a great leader for the team," Crawford said of Damas. "She pushes us to work our hardest all the time and be supportive of each other as a team."

One of the harder challenges the Miners will face this season is the fact that they are bumping up to 4A. Residing in the new Region 11 are some familiar faces in Stansbury and Tooele — teams that will also join the 4A classification this year — but Park City will also have to go against the likes of Juan Diego. The private school is the defending 3A state champion and defeated the Miners in the playoffs last year.

Also in the region is Bonneville, who was a 4A playoff team last season, as well as Ben Lomond and Ogden. The region will be hard, and Damas knows her team will have to bring its greatest effort for each contest if the Miners want to compete.

"The change in region has set the pace for the expectations this season, and those expectations are really high," Damas said. "Our region is tough, and we're going to have to scrape and claw during every game and make sure we bring our A game to win. There's not an easy game in any part of our region."

Before the Miners attempt to conquer their region, though, they must travel to the Corner Canyon Tournament on Wednesday, where they'll face Westlake High School in the first round. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.