PCHS girls’ soccer eyes another region title
The last two years have ended a bit too soon for the Park City High School girls’ soccer team.
In 2014, the Miners won Region 10 but lost to Cedar in the first round of the 3A playoffs. Last season, the Miners again won Region 10, but lost to Cedar in the quarterfinals.
This year, Coach Chip Cook and her experienced roster of players will look to keep playing until late October. Cook said the PCHS upperclassmen are anxious to break the streak of early playoff exits.
“They’ve been a part of those little stumbles in the playoffs [in years past] and they really don’t want that to happen to them,” she said. “We’re talking as a team about what we need to do mentally, emotionally and physically to best prepare ourselves. Playoff soccer is totally different. It’s about which team can jell together and be the best team.”
One part of that playoff preparation is a tough non-region schedule. The Miners will face a series of 4A and 5A opponents before their first Region 10 game on Sept. 8.
Park City started its season last Wednesday with a 3-1 loss to Murray. Last Thursday, the Miners fell 4-1 to Westlake.
Though the offense was sluggish in each game, Cook said she saw some flashes of brilliance against the bigger schools.
“In both games, we got behind 3-0 in the first half,” she said. “Our biggest concern right now is getting organized a little more quickly on defense. We have some great, solid defenders back there, but we’re just a little slow to get organized.”
In the Murray game, Cook said the Miners overcame their slow start with a great second half.
“It was a tale of two halves,” she said. “In the first half, they scored three goals. In the second half, the roles were completely reversed and we dominated them. We hit the post a couple of times, though. We’ll start capitalizing on those opportunities as we grow comfortable with each other.”
The Miners are working to integrate a few new players into a core of senior leaders that includes Evie Edwards, Bailey Hoglin, Dani Johnson, Jess DiCaprio and Cali Keizer.
“We have some move-ins that are already contributing,” Cook said. “We have a move-in from New York named Casey Crawford who’s a junior and got our first goal for us. Then we have another one on varsity who is moving in from northern Utah — Keira Morrell.”
The returning contributors are mostly forwards and midfielders, so Cook said the Miners have had to rework their defensive alignment this preseason.
“We have a sophomore and a junior that we’re looking at in goal — Hannah Pimentel and Ali Kuennen,” she said. “Both of them are doing a good job. The big thing for us is we’re looking to switch Bailey Hoglin’s position a little bit and move her up the pitch, so we have a very young back line right now. We have a freshman starting at center back and a junior first-time varsity starter at center back. They’re doing a great job, but it’s just a matter of growth and maturity as a team. They’ll get there — they’re really good players.”
As the Miners find their shape early this season, Cook said she anticipates more Region 10 success in Park City’s future.
“Once we start playing the style of soccer I know we’re capable of, where we’re attacking out of the back, I think we’ll limit [opponents’] opportunities and create a whole lot more for ourselves,” she said.
Park City’s first home game of the season is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 22, against Judge Memorial. The game will kick off at 4 p.m. at the North 40 fields.
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