Every year, these guys have a great coaching staff and an incredible history in their soccer program. So I knew coming in this was going to be a difficult win. —Cedar senior goalkeeper Kaeland Osborn
PARK CITY — Sometimes pressure breaks the pipes, and sometimes pressure makes diamonds.
For Cedar senior goalkeeper Kaeland Osborn, it was the latter, as he led the Redmen past Park City in the 3A quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.
Osborn's clutch saves between the posts helped propel Cedar to an impressive 2-1 win over the Miners at Park City High and punch a ticket to the 3A semifinals.
“I knew coming in they were going to be a solid team,” Osborn said after the match. “Every year, these guys have a great coaching staff and an incredible history in their soccer program. So I knew coming in this was going to be a difficult win.”
The Miners (9-6-1, 6-1-1) came out aggressively and dominated the time of possession in the first 20 minutes. However, the Redmen's strong chemistry helped them draw first blood. Senior Michael Briano drew a foul and calmly buried a penalty kick 29 minutes into the match to give Cedar a 1-0 edge at the break.
The Redmen (11-6-1, 6-5-1) weren't presented with many shots on goal, but their intuitive familiarity with one another helped them capitalize on the scoring opportunities they did have.
When you've played with the same teammates for as many years as the Cedar Redmen seniors have, you begin to develop a certain chemistry that cannot be taught.
“These guys have played together for a long time now. They are a bunch of seniors who have played together since sixth grade, so they are all friends having a good time together,” Cedar coach Scott Kamachi said of his team’s undeniable chemistry. “They always play extremely hard for each other; they are like a family.”
Park City's high energy in the second half provided the Miners with numerous opportunities to score, but the solid play of Osborn and Cedar's electric offense was too much for the home team.
Senior Brock Shipp got in on the action when he cleaned up a missed shot attempt that was deflected by Park City's goalkeeper, Charlie Urban, right in front of the net to give the Redmen a commanding 2-0 lead with just over 18 minutes left.
“It bounced and I got there first,” a smiling Shipp said of his late goal. “Luckily, I saw it bounce out and I just hit it far post.”
Park City was finally able to get on the board when Gunnar Stray-Gunderson booted one right through Osborn's hands. Just two minutes later, the Miners scored another goal, only to watch it become disallowed because of an offside call by the assistant referee.
Park City had a few more chances to knot things up at 2-apiece, but the Redmen held on, as Osborn didn't let another ball get past him until the clock struck zero.
Cedar will look to continue riding its playoff momentum into the semifinals, where it will battle fellow Region 9 champion Pine View for a spot in the 3A championship match. The Panthers won both of the two teams’ regular-season meetings.
“When we get an opportunity to score a goal, we have got to score a goal,” Kamachi said of the upcoming semifinals. “These games are always so close and it’s usually the first team that scores wins, so we just need to take care of our opportunities, play solid defense, keep them out of our area and score when we can.”
Cedar and Pine View are set to square off Friday at 4 p.m. at Alta High.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724