Park City • Gunner Stray-Gunderson knew his Park City boys' soccer team was in for a fight against undefeated Hillcrest. He just didn't know how hard he would have to work for the 2-0 victory.
"They came out at us hard and were really physical," Stray-Gunderson said. "Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire."
The Miners battled to a draw in the first half, withstanding Hillcrest's aggressive style of play. Park City remained in the thick of it, matching tackles and fighting in the air for possession.
The game remained scoreless into the 54th minute, when Alejandro Vieyra used fancy footwork to beat two defenders and cross the ball to Stray-Gunderson. Gunderson looked right and drilled it left. Throwing his hands into the air, he was engulfed by his teammates in a sea of white jerseys.
"I got to give all of the credit to Gunner," Vieyra said. "He made a great run and was able to play him the ball."
Vieyra connected with Gunderson again four minutes later. Redirecting a free kick with his head, Vieyra fed the ball to a sprinting Gunderson. Splitting two Huskies defenders, he unleashed an acrobatic chest-high swinging kick. Hillcrest's goalkeeper was able to get into position, but the ball powered through his gloves for the second goal of the game.
"I practice those kicks in practice, but rarely do I get to do them in games," Stray-Gunderson smiled. "I got into the right position to make the right shot."
Stray-Gunderson credited Park City keeper Casey Sedermane for keeping the Miners in the game. Stopping five shots on goal including one that took him completely evelated with the crossbar, Sedermane came up biggest when he stopped a penalty kick at the 75-minute mark.
Reading the kicker, Sedermane came up with the ball cleanly as it was kicked hard at the right lower post. That save secured his second shutout on the season.
"Casey played phenomenal," Stray-Gunderson said. "He's the best goalie we've had at Park City in a long time."