PARK CITY — Heading into its 3A state playoff match against Richfield, the Park City girls soccer team did not know exactly what to prepare for.
A newcomer to the classification, the Wildcats had never appeared on Park City's schedule.
So the Miners, the second seed from Region 10, focused on their own tempo and control, and used those things to defeat Richfield, 8-0, in the opening round of the state tournament Wednesday.
“I was pleased that everyone contributed to the win,” head coach Chip Cook said. “We had a lot of opportunities on net.”
After watching Richfield, the No. 3 seed out of Region 12, it was clear the Miners were faster, more aggressive and more experienced.
“We were better at hanging on to the ball than they were and giving ourselves opportunities at the net,” Cook said. “I wish we had kept it away from the ‘keeper a little bit more today, but I was pleased with the performance.”
The coach called Richfield goalkeeper Maddy Lu Jerome “spectacular,” noting she was working almost nonstop throughout the contest. The senior stopped 15 shots in the first half alone.
“We could have had some more challenging shots, a lot of them just weren’t very well struck,” Cook said, “but we created a ton of chances.”
The Miners found the net within the first five minutes, but the goal was nullified by an offsides call. Just three minutes later, Park City recorded its first score.
“I think there were some jitters going on at first,” Cook said. “It’s always a little nerve-wracking facing a new opponent that we know nothing about. But they got over it a little quickly and settled in and started getting a rhythm going.”
Six different players ultimately scored for Park City, which netted three goals throughout the first half and then added five more in the second.
Hayden Shettig, Jessica Dancy, Laura Lyons, and Maggie Reigelsperger each knocked in one goal apiece, while Lindsay Gordon and Makenzie Bothner both scored twice.
“Lindsay is just a sophomore, and she is really aggressive. Her feistiness and her pursuit are what give her a lot of opportunities,” Cook said. “She’s quite speedy and sometime she relies on that too much, so we’re trying to get her to play a slightly more advanced style of soccer. She’s been doing a great job with that.”
Bothner, a multi-sport senior, also created a strong presence in the win.
“Makenzie is just a world-class athlete who can run all day,” her coach said. “She runs cross-country for Park City High School. She is extremely fit and very, very smart, and takes her opportunities to move the ball forward. She’s a dangerous player.”
The Miners will now travel north for a quarterfinal contest against Bear River, which defeated Desert Hills, 4-1. The two have not met since the 2010 semifinals, which Park City won, 4-0, before losing the title game.
“It’s nice to get the first one under our belt and now we look to the next one,” Cook said. “We’re just looking to continue improving throughout the remainder of the playoffs.”
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.