PCHS girls’ soccer falls to Juan Diego in state quarterfinals
Sometimes things just simply don’t go your way, especially in sports. There are times when a team may perfectly execute its original game plan, only to find itself on the short end of the stick.
Unfortunately for the Park City High School girls’ soccer team, it found itself in this scenario on Saturday afternoon when playing host to Juan Diego Catholic High School in the UHSAA 3A state quarterfinals. Despite having a few good-looking opportunities and more shots on goal than their counterparts, the Miners could not overcome a three-goal halftime deficit, falling to the Soaring Eagle 6-2 at the North 40 fields.
“They had better opportunities closer in that they capitalized on,” Head Coach Chip Cook said. “It’s a rare day you win when the other team scores six goals on you, but our team fought until the end. … I was proud of the way they fought and the character they showed on the field.”
Leading the way for Juan Diego were Heaven Kelley and Katie Whittington, who had a pair of goals each. Soaring Eagle teammates Daviana Vaka and AnnaMaria DiGeronimo each chipped with a score of their own. The Miners first found the net in the second half courtesy of a Bailey Hoglin penalty kick. Casey Crawford added another late in the game after rebounding a shot and finding the back of the net.
The first goal of the contest came off the boot of Whittington, who was assisted by her own keeper. Soaring Eagle goalie Audrey Hall punted the ball deep into Park City territory. Carried by generous gusts of wind, the ball bounced right in front of Miner keeper Hannah Pimentel. It then ricocheted off of the crossbar and eventually found Whittington’s foot, who fired it into the back of the net.
“On a regular day, Hannah [Pimentel] handles that all day,” Cook said of the game-opening score. “That was an extremely difficult ball to be able to handle. They capitalized on it.”
With the loss, Park City’s promising season comes to a close. The Miners finished the year with an 11-7 overall record, including a 7-1 mark in region play that helped them finish as Region 10 co-champions.
The result was surely heartbreaking for all of the players, but especially for the team’s seniors, whose prep careers concluded with the loss. While their physical presence might be nonexistent moving forward, the legacy and the principles instilled by the seniors for the Miners will surely live on into next season and beyond.
“I thought they had good, solid, quiet-spoken, do-as-I-do type of leadership.” Cook said. “I think that the players who are following in their footsteps are going to follow that example of leadership and hopefully our program continues to be one of strong character. … [The seniors are] just tough, strong young women. They never once gave up and for that, I’m most proud of them.”
The obvious mission was to advance farther into the state playoffs, but the players on this team still have much to be proud of from this 2016 campaign.
Cook compares the team that lost on Saturday to the same girls that fell 6-2 to Wasatch High School back in August. The scores were similar, and even though the loss to Juan Diego had much more at stake, it was the way this group of girls handled themselves throughout that showed the maturation from the beginning of the year to the end of it.
Not only did the Miners grow as a team, but they grew as individuals.
“The difference between [the Wasatch game] and now is the character we showed,” Cook said. “This season, if anything, taught them that they, as individuals with their character, how they behave in the face of adversity is more important than what shows in the final score.”
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