Grizzlies fall to Miners 3-1 in season opener

<strong>LOGAN—</strong> In its first game of the season, the Logan High girl’s soccer team had its hands full with Park City Thursday, suffering a 3-1 setback at home.

“First game of the season you want to learn,” Logan head coach Mitch Peterson said. “We wanted to take some risks and play around and be creative and that’s what we did. If we learn a bunch of stuff about the team for those 80 minutes you have to be ok with that.”

It didn’t take long for the Miners to strike, as they dominated possession early. In the sixth minute, midfielder Rachel Papez put Park City on top after Logan conceded a corner kick. The ball fell to the senior’s feet and Papez calmly put the ball past Grizzly goalkeeper Emily Davis.

Three minutes later the Miners struck again after Macayle Daniels was whistled for a foul inside the penalty area. Park City junior Maggie Reigelsperger had no trouble finding the back of the net, and just like that the Grizzlies found themselves down 2-0 less than 10 minutes in.

“We didn’t do a real good job of holding on to the ball,” Peterson said. “We had a slow start, and our transition was slow because our passing was slow.”

Despite struggling to maintain possession, Logan had its chances throughout the first half – several of which came on set pieces. In the 11th minute the Grizzlies had a free kick from 25 yards, but the direct shot sailed high over the cross bar.

Logan managed several opportunities midway through the first half.

Junior Tawni Smith had a breakaway off of a Miner defensive miscue in the 21st minute, but was unable to finish as her shot hit the side netting of the goal. Seven minutes later, senior Jamie Dyer had a chance from the top of the 18-yard-box, but Park City goalie Skye Mooney made the save.

“We got to see a lot of things,” Peterson said. “New girls in new places. Seeing the versatility of filling in some of the holes that we have. A couple of our strongest attackers are our strongest defenders, we’re just figuring out our personnel issues.”

Precision passing by Park City caused problems for the Logan defense, as the Miners lofted passes behind the Grizzlies back line. In the 50th minute, junior Jessie Dancy capitalized with a breakaway goal into the bottom-left corner of the net to put the Miners up 3-0.

Park City continued to press forward in the attacking third, but Logan was able to move the ball down the field and earn a several late set piece opportunities. A free kick in the 71st minute led to a Grizzly corner, and three minutes later the Grizzlies caught the break they needed.

The Miners were whistled for a handball just outside the 18-yard-box, giving Logan a free kick from 20 yards. Freshman Kanyan Ward converted the opportunity for the Grizzlies, tucking the ball past Mooney to avoid the shutout.

Logan – which recorded four shots on goal – has struggled in season openers in recent years, going 3-4 over the past seven seasons. But despite the loss, Peterson is optimistic about his 32-player roster – 14 of which are new to the Grizzlies program.

“We had two objectives,” Peterson said. “Obviously you want to win the game, but you also want to learn in the first game of the season. We played (Park City) last year and barely made it on the field. You compare the two and we’ve come a long way.”

Logan will look to rebound from the loss with a visit to Layton Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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