The Park City Miners celebrate their semifinal victory on Tuesday evening at Olympus High School. Photo courtesy of Margaret Hyatt
The Park City Miners celebrate their semifinal victory on Tuesday evening at Olympus High School. Photo courtesy of Margaret Hyatt

After struggling for much of the first half of its quarterfinal game at Dozier Field last Friday, the Park City High School girls' lacrosse team started strong against Juan Diego in the semifinals.

Playing at Olympus High School on Tuesday evening, the Miners jumped out to an 8-0 lead in one of their strongest openings of the season.

Park City coach Amy Hafets-Cronin was thrilled that her team was ready for the battle facing it in the semis.

"The girls did an outstanding job in the first half," she said. "They came out from the very first whistle with intensity."

The Miners held a 9-2 lead at halftime and cruised to an easy 15-9 victory, sending them to Saturday's state title match.

Park City is still undefeated this season, so any problems it has to work on are relatively minor, but Hafets-Cronin said it was nice to see the girls improve their communication.

"The defense they were sliding right and their communication was flawless," she said. "[Goalie Mireia Calaf] made some key saves and then our offense was moving the ball really well. Their shots were dead on."

Though they held a seven goal lead heading into the second half, Hafets-Cronin stressed that the Miners couldn't let up.

"We just really wanted to make sure we played a complete game and make sure our second half was even stronger than our first half," she said.

The Soaring Eagle found the back of the net with more frequency in the second half, but Park City continued to keep pace and not let its opponent get too close.

"We wanted to have patience on the attack, knowing that the clock was working in our favor," Hafets-Cronin said. "They played in control and didn't get flustered when Juan Diego started scoring. They worked hard the entire game."

Hafets-Cronin said it was a complete team effort that led to the Miners advancing to their third-straight title game, but highlighted a few players that led the way.

"Hannah [Hyatt] had five goals," she said. "Dani Lecher had an outstanding game and had three goals and came up with several ground balls.

Danielle Lecher looks for a way around a Bingham defender during the playoff quarterfinals last week. Christopher Reeves/Park Record
Danielle Lecher looks for a way around a Bingham defender during the playoff quarterfinals last week. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

"Marina [Mayo] and McKenna [Tychsen] were critical on the draw and dominated for most of the game. Our defensive starters were really solid and Lily Howell played a great game."

In the second game on Tuesday, Brighton squared off against Riverton to see who would advance alongside Park City.

"We actually stayed to watch that game," Hafets-Cronin said. "Riverton won in overtime. It was a one-goal game for pretty much the entire game very intense."

With a Riverton-Park City final scheduled for Saturday, it will be the first time this season that the No. 1 team from the Northern Division (Park City) and the No. 1 team from the Southern Division (Riverton) take the field together.

After devastating losses in their previous two state final appearances, Hafets-Cronin and the Miners are hoping the third time is the charm.

"This is the first time we're facing them this season," she said. "We're excited for the opportunity."

Saturday's final at Dozier Field is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.