PCHS soccer squad falls 2-0 | ParkRecord.com

PCHS soccer squad falls 2-0

An unlucky first half turned into a frustrating second half for the Park City High School girls’ soccer team on Friday afternoon against Highland.

In what has become a common theme for the Miners against non-region opponents, Highland was held to just a couple strong scoring chances, on which it capitalized. Meanwhile, despite controlling possession and having several great offensive opportunities, the Miners couldn’t find the back of the net in a 2-0 loss.

Park City Coach Chip Cook said that, while the losses this preseason have been frustrating, the team has been improving. After all, last year’s Miners struggled mightily in non-region play and then went on to win a Region 10 title.

"We’re just kind of hoping we get it out of our system in the preseason," she said. "That has been the story of our preseason so far. We’ve created a ton of opportunities, today way more than any other game."

After taking a 1-0 lead, Highland took a weak shot on goal that happened to sneak by goalie Ali Kuennen. Cook said she’s not worried about Kuennen’s mishap, though, as she’ll learn from it and come out a better goalie.

"That happens to every goalie at least once," she said. "It happened to her today and it’ll probably never happen to her again. It’s just part of the game. If we could have put away any of our opportunities, it wouldn’t have been so impactful."

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Late in the second half, the Miners unleashed a furious attack on the Highland goal, peppering the keeper with quality shots. But, after a dangerous run from Jessica DiCaprio, a scuffle in the box that produced two quality chances and a penalty kick attempt by Claire West, the Miners were still unable to get on the scoreboard.

"Jess’s run on that breakaway was absolutely brilliantly timed," Cook said. "Everybody had great opportunities. Claire’s penalty kick missed just barely wide. It was just one of those days."

Cook said DiCaprio’s play this year has been a bright spot for the Miners, who needed someone to step up in the midfield to replace last year’s senior class.

"Jess is very good both technically and tactically and she works really hard," she said. "She’ll always fight to get to every ball within her vicinity. She’s really stepped up to be a key player for us this year."

Though Cook and the Miners know that they aren’t hurting themselves in the grand scheme of things with early-season losses, she said she understands the girls’ frustration with losing.

"The girls want to win," she said. "They knew we were the better team on the field today and I think that’s the part that’s disappointing to them — not the way they played, but that we couldn’t pull it out in the end."

Park City’s goal of defending its region title might have taken a big hit on Friday, though. Midway through the second half, forward Cali Keizer sustained a knee injury that left her in a lot of pain on the sideline. Cook said she’s hoping for the best, but if Keizer has to miss extended time, she’ll be tough to replace.

"It’ll be a tough one," she said. "She’s a very hard-working, aggressive forward and she’s been doing a great job. We’re going to miss her terribly. I’m hopeful it’s nothing serious, but her pain level was indicating something different."

Park City (1-5-1) was scheduled to play its final non-region match on Tuesday, after this issue went to press. Cook said she was hoping to head into Thursday’s Region 10 opener at Union on a high note.

"We’re working on maintaining our defensive shape and staying connected defensively to midfield to offense," she said. "We had that at times today and we were forgetting about it at times. What we’re looking for is 80 minutes of concentrated, purposeful possession with connectedness all over the field."

Park City’s Region 10 schedule begins Thursday against Union in Roosevelt. The Miners’ next home match is scheduled for Sept. 17 against Stansbury at 3:30 p.m. at the North 40 fields.