Back at home after debilitating road losses against Utah powerhouses Alta and Brighton, the Park City High School boys' lacrosse team scored three goals in a third-quarter flurry to beat Bountiful 9-7 on Friday, April 16.
"It was good to get back on track with beating a good team," said head coach Ryan Sheaffer, noting that the Braves are ranked in the state's top 10.
Sophomore goalkeeper Peter Hoburg saved 15 shots, receiving the game ball for another strong performance in his first season on varsity. Hoburg is no rookie, though, having played since sixth grade when he started lacrosse in a Pittsburgh recreational league.
"He's playing awesome," Sheaffer said. "For a sophomore to step in and play that well against one of the top teams in the state and shut those guys down, he did a great job. He's a kid who's kind of immune to pressure."
Hoburg said he couldn't even remember any of his big saves Friday.
"I don't really think about the past that much," he said. "Goal, save, whatever, I just play the game. It's fun. I just play like I usually do, and play the best I can play."
Junior Griffin Perkiel and senior Matt Mersereau each had two goals and three assists for the Miners (5-2), while senior Dillon Dutkanych also scored twice.
"We had the most intense practice that we've ever ran yesterday," Perkiel said after Friday's game. "We wanted to go all-or-nothing today."
The Miners led 5-4 at halftime but quickly fell behind 6-5, with Bountiful sneaking in for two goals soon after the restart.
"We made a lot of mental mistakes today that kept the game closer than it should have been," Sheaffer said. "Not that they're not a good team - they have a goalie who makes a lot of good saves - but we were called for offsides like three times and gave them some extra possessions."
In a span of less than two minutes, however, the Miners responded with three goals of their own.
First, a nifty pass from Mersereau found Perkiel in front, and the Miners' junior points leader (33) jumped and shot high to tie it at 6-apiece.
Senior middle Sam Sisk followed with a quick shot in front for the lead, then sophomore Chris Boland wrapped around the goal feigning a pass before firing off a near-post shot and going ahead 8-6.
"Our offense finally settled down and ran the system that they were supposed to be running, and when they did that, they were almost unstoppable," Sheaffer said. "That was good, and that's what we need to play with consistently."
The Miners scored another at the start of the fourth quarter when Perkiel's long shot from the point found the netting.
A large showing turned out for the rare home appearance at Quinn's Junction, perhaps in part because of the bad fortune of having a game against Alta moved to the road last week.
"It's awesome," Sheaffer said. "It's great to have people yelling and cheering, and for the kids to feel like they're supported by the community. I think when people come out, they realize it's a pretty fun game to watch."
The team returns to conference play looking to improve the record for playoff seeding this week. The first game will be at Dozier against Skyline on Wednesday, then they'll return to Quinn's Friday to face off against Woods Cross. Both games are at 5 p.m.
With 12 seniors due to depart, this season marks the last chance for some to wrap up an elusive state title. Coach Sheaffer has said it's getting more difficult for Park City to contend with larger schools in the state's top division, but Hoburg cautioned against saying his hopes for a title live or die with this year's team.
"I think we're a really good team this year, and we definitely have a chance, but next year, we'll play well too," Hoburg said. "We've got some good kids coming up."