Supportive Miners cruise to third region win
Park City sweeps singles and doubles play vs. Bonneville
The Park Record
When the Park City High School girls’ tennis team hosts a tennis match at the PC MARC, everyone within shouting distance knows it.
Throughout the contests, one can hear the Miners shouting words of encouragement for their teammates. Varsity players root on their junior varsity counterparts, and vice versa. Singles players scurry over to the doubles court after their matches to make sure those girls have someone to cheer them on, too.
A loud, supportive home atmosphere is what has helped the team get off to an undefeated region start to the season, including a 6-0 sweep of Bonneville on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s great,” Heather Nicholas, Park City’s head coach, said of the team’s attitude. “Our opponents don’t necessarily like our team camaraderie but it’s more like a college match. This is the kind of stuff you hear when you go to a college match. They’re hollering from court to court. I just think it’s a really good vibe. They’re really gelling.”
Leading the way on Thursday was the strong singles play that’s led the Miners to the last two state championships. On the No. 1 court, Livi Rockwood defeated her Bonneville opponent 6-0, 6-2, while twin sister Gabby won her match on the No. 2 court by a score of 6-1, 6-1.
Taylor Matz, the team’s No. 3 singles player, also cruised her way to win, claiming a 6-2, 6-0 victory to give Park City all three singles points.
“I feel really confident,” Nichola said of the team’s singles play. “We were looking for them to mature [heading into the season] and I’ve seen it. … I feel really confident as far as their games go that they’re the strongest players out there. It’s just a matter of pulling their game together and their heads together at the same time.”
On the doubles court, the Miners were just as successful as they were in singles play, sweeping the points there to ensure a 6-0 win.
The No. 1 team of Emme Phillips and Brooklyn Thompson secured a win by score of 6-2, 6-1 to kick things off, while the No. 2 team of Erin Case and Amelia Jorgensen kept the positive vibes going with a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Mia Rapella and Ellie Fischer, the team’s No. 3 squad, breezed through their match, earning the coveted 6-0, 6-0 score.
The duo of Phillips and Thompson has the potential to be a great one, Nicholas said, but sometimes an extra push is required.
“They both are really calm,” Nicholas said. “They just show no emotions, which in some ways is good, but in doubles, you’re kind of feeding off of each other. We’re really working with them on getting more energy. When they hit a good shot, it’s OK to give each other a high-five and get a little vocal. That’s the fun thing about team tennis.”
Halfway through their region slate, the Miners feel as if they are the favorite to become region champs, again. But they also have their eyes on a bigger prize — a third consecutive state championship — so Park City has traveled to state-wide tournaments, including last weekend’s St. George Invitational, to ensure they’ll be ready come the end of September.
At the St. George Invitational, the Miners secured a first-place finish, and with teams such as Desert Hills present — one of Park City’s stiffest competition for the UHSAA 4A crown this year — Nicholas is feeling optimistic about the squad.
“I really feel good going forward,” Nicholas said. “I think we’re in a good place. We just have to keep everybody healthy for the next couple of weeks. We’ve had our fair share of injuries, so that’s the goal; stay status quo and keep on keeping on.”
Park City’s next contest will be a road match at Stansbury on Tuesday afternoon. The Miners’ next home bout won’t be until a week later on Sept. 12, when they host Tooele at the PC MARC. Both are scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
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The inaugural season may have ended in a loss, but the Park City Red Wolves saw a lot of progress throughout that leads to a bright future.