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Miners' frustration ends with school's first soccer title

Park City put an end to four years of playoff frustration, claiming its first 3A state soccer title Saturday at Lindquist Field with a 3-0 win over Ogden.

"They (her players) are tired of the tears," said Miner coach Cheryl "Chip" Cook. "They know what it is like to lose."For the last two years Park City has made the journey to the finals and lost, watching from the sidelines as the state champions celebrated. The previous two years they fell in the state semifinals, giving the team a frustrating playoff history.

As the final whistle sounded, the Miners knew just what to do, rushing onto the field jumping and screaming for a team hug and cheer.

"We wanted to win more than anything," said senior Angela Simpson, who scored the game's first two goals. "It feels so good."

Simpson - who played only one year with the Miners after moving from 5A's Jordan High - gave Park City a 1-0 lead just before halftime, taking a Katherine Matsumoto pass and finally making good on one of the Miners many scoring opportunities. Her second score was keyed by midfielder Jordan Krieger's setup. Simpson has enjoyed several two-game goals this year, "but never in a state championship," she said.

Freshman Jenna Martin finished off the Tigers' hopes for a comeback with a boot to the upper-left corner that sealed the victory about midway through the second half. Freshmen played a big part in the Miners' yearlong success, including keepers Ryan Tolpinrud and Amanda Smith, who combined to shutout each of their four playoff opponents.

But the win was especially sweet for the seniors, who have been around for all the close calls.

"We finally made our statement," said midfielder Missy Wilkinson. "It feels so good to be on top. We were the walking wounded, but we knew it was the final game of our high school career."

Wilkinson and several other players - including much of the defense - were hurting from their playoff run, including a 4-0 game Friday against previously undefeated Ben Lomond. The Miners even had to move second leading scorer Brittany Esty to the backfield to fill some injury-caused holes.

Krieger said the team not only won the game for its current team but also for previous players and others in the stands.

"We won it for anybody who ever said `hi' to us," she laughed.