Earlier this season against Lone Peak, the Park City High School girls' lacrosse team got out to a 20-4 lead with about eight minutes left in the game.
Instead of scoring more goals in the lopsided game, the Miners simply held onto the ball until the final whistle sounded, putting on a display of crisp passes and possession-style lacrosse.
On Friday night at Dozier Field, that possession practice paid off against Brighton. Leading 6-4 at halftime, the Miners extended their lead to 10-4 courtesy of two goals from Hannah Hyatt and one each from McKenna Tychsen and Danielle Lecher.
But, as the half wore on, the Bengals chipped away at the Miners' lead, eventually closing the gap to 10-9 with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.
Rather than trying to score and risking the chance of Brighton winning a couple draws and tying the game, Park City went into possession mode. Though there were some nail-biting moments, the Miners held on to defeat Brighton and improve to 12-0 on the season.
"I probably lost about 10 years off my life from the last two minutes of that game," Park City coach Amy Hafets-Cronin joked. "But it was an awesome game. We knew coming into this year that Brighton was probably going to be our top competition. Everything we've been doing this year was in preparation for games like this. Everything was building up to being in this sort of tight situation."
Though Hafets-Cronin would have preferred it if Park City held onto its six-goal lead, she said she's pleased with the mental toughness the girls showed in not breaking down.
"I'm really proud of how the girls executed," she said. "It's just being smart and knowing what the game calls for and knowing that we can possess it that long. The longer we possess it, the less they have it."
Since Friday was Senior Night, Hafets-Cronin was happy to send this year's group of seniors off with a win. She added that she'll definitely miss having this year's senior class around.
"This season has just gone by so quickly," she said. "This group of seniors is really special.
Made up of Lecher, Tychsen, Haley Adelman, Katy Miele and Lily Howell, this year's senior class laid a strong foundation for the Park City program, Hafets-Cronin said. The five athletes will all attend college in California next year. Lecher will attend the University of California-Berkeley, Howell will go to Point Loma Nazarene University, Adelman will attend Pomona-Pitzer College and both Tychsen and Miele will go to the University of Redlands.
"Dani, having her miss her sophomore and junior years with ACL injuries and then seeing her come back so strong this year and fitting right back in with the team and being such a dominant force on the attack was awesome," she said. "Our three captains Haley, Kenna and Katy they have been phenomenal leaders for the whole team. I think they've created the bond that all the girls have. They've done a great job bringing up the underclassmen.
"Lily, she has such a good spirit. It's going to be hard losing her on defense. She does a great job keeping everything in perspective and is supportive of everyone."
But, Hafets-Cronin noted, though the regular season is now over, there's still work to be done in the playoffs. She said the Miners will have to continue building off the undefeated regular season if they want to make it back to Dozier Field on May 17 for the state championship game.
"I'm excited that we get a couple more games to continue playing together," she said. "It's just going to be about playing in the moment and not getting ahead of ourselves. We need to make sure we execute every play and that we play a full game."
And the Miners may not have seen the last of Brighton, Hafets-Cronin said.
"We very well could see them again," she said. "They're an excellent team and I have a lot of respect for their play."
The playoffs are scheduled to begin on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against a to-be-determined opponent.