PCHS boys’ LAX routs Skyline
May 15, 2015
The Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team finds itself in a familiar situation after earning a big 14-4 victory over Skyline in the playoff semifinals on Wednesday night at Judge Memorial High School.
For the second straight season, the Miners have the opportunity to play for a state championship, when they meet up with Corner Canyon on Saturday.
This year, though, will be a little bit different. Last year, the Miners had the benefit of playing the championship game on Dozier Field in Park City, parlaying that home-field advantage into a 16-4 rout of Herriman.
On Saturday, the Miners will have to overcome Corner Canyon’s home-field advantage, which will be no easy task. When Park City and Corner Canyon played at PCHS earlier this season, the result was a hard-fought, but sloppy, 7-6 victory for the Miners.
Because of the difficult game that awaits the Miners on Saturday night, the Park City coaching staff wasn’t thrilled with the physical play allowed by the referees late in Wednesday night’s game.
"We got pretty riled up," Park City Coach Andy Langendorf said. "It was a lot of physical play. I don’t blame Skyline for pressing, but one of the things we struggled with was we had pretty inconsistent refereeing at that point. That’s hard to manage from a coaching perspective."
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For a team that is already missing senior midfielder Chase Christensen due to an injury he suffered against Brighton in the regular-season finale, losing another key player in a game that was already well in-hand by the fourth quarter would have been devastating.
"It’s my job as a head coach — I’ve got to take care of my players," Langendorf said. "We’ve got a state championship coming up to play in. There’s a lot at stake here. It’s one-and-done. Everyone’s trying to get to the state championship game and we’re really honored to be going there."
Leading the charge for the Park City attack were the usual suspects — Kolton Atkinson (three goals, three assists), Beau Pederson (four goals, one assist) and Cole Flinders (three goals, one assist). Tucker Mirams added two goals and one assist, Chad Merrick had a goal and two assists, JJ Pickard had one goal and one assist and Trent Clifford added one assist in the win.
Langendorf credited Atkinson, Flinders and Pederson for having a solid game, including an unorthodox play where the three combined for a spectacular goal after the offensive set broke down. Pederson received a pass from a midfielder, but quickly flipped the ball to Atkinson before getting hit by a defender. Atkinson made a one-handed stab to corral the pass before quickly flinging it to Flinders, who was wide open for an easy goal.
"It’s not in the playbook, that’s for sure," Langendorf laughed. "But it worked. It just shows what good athletes they are. When you’re a good team and guys play together a lot, they understand how everyone else moves. That trio is one of the best I’ve seen. They seem to be able to see each other, even in traffic."
Defensively, the Miners didn’t allow Skyline to score after the midway point of the third quarter. Langendorf said that unit, led by Chase Flinders, Jake Maschoff, Tobin Greenwald, Jeff Turner, Josh Hales, Noah Meyer, Cage Lewis and goalie Ian Sime, had one of its best games of the season on Wednesday.
"We’ve got great kids back there and they work really hard," he said. "It’s a tough job to be a defender — you don’t get a lot of accolades and it’s a lot of work. We demand a lot of them. [Assistant coach] Nick Gradinger has done a tremendous job with those kids. They’re going to be totally ready for college when they leave our program and that’s our goal."
Though the Miners will have twice as long to prepare for Corner Canyon this time around, that’s not really saying much — they’ll have two practice days instead of one. Plus, Langendorf said, the weather report looked iffy for Thursday and Friday. But, he added, the Miners will do everything they can to make sure they’re completely prepared for the challenge that awaits them.
"It’s going to rain for the next couple days, so we’re scrambling to figure out how we’re going to practice in the pouring rain," he said. "We’re going to do the best we can. I think everybody understands at this point what’s on the table, though."
Park City is excited for Saturday’s game and a chance to prove it is again the best boys’ lacrosse team in Utah. But, Langendorf added, both teams should be proud of what they’ve accomplished this year.
"At the end of the day, it’s going to be a big game on Saturday night and it’ll be fun for the kids," he said. "I know it’s going to be a war. Somebody’s going to have to lose that game, unfortunately. It’s two great teams — we have great athletes and they have great athletes. It’s going to be hard for someone to walk away from that game without winning, but both teams have been highly successful this year."
Saturday night’s state title game against Corner Canyon is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Corner Canyon High School.
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