The Park City High School boys' lacrosse team managed to hang with a powerful Brighton team at Dozier Field on Thursday evening.
But despite closing the gap to 6-4 early in the third quarter, the Miners couldn't pull even with the Bengals, eventually losing the game 12-5.
"We crept our way back into the game," Park City coach Andy Langendorf said. "We just couldn't get it within one. We played too much defense and just didn't get enough possession on our attack end. Eventually our defense wore down and they just outworked us."
But the defense was a bright spot in the game, he said.
"It was the best defensive game that we've played all season," he said. "We played tough, we hung in there and we played a physical game."
He added that the Miners would need to improve in all aspects of the game if they want to stay with a powerful team like Brighton.
"There was no one spot I thought we were horrible," he said. "We just weren't great anywhere. You're not going to beat a great program by being mediocre."
The experience of playing a team like the Bengals will prove to be valuable for the Miners, who rely on several freshmen and sophomores, Langendorf said. But he won't let them use youth as an excuse.
"Lacrosse is competitive, and when you play teams like Brighton that are trying to win a state championship, they play the game shift by shift and they work as hard as they can," he said. "We're young, but that doesn't give us an excuse to not work hard."
Though the team lost on Thursday, the Miners were able to clinch a playoff spot earlier in the week with an 8-7 win at Olympus.
Despite the win, Langendorf said his team needs to improve quite a bit if it wants to prove it belongs.
"The Olympus game was not a well-played game on either side of the ball," he said. "I think everyone knew what was on the table, so there were a lot of tight hands."
Park City (7-3 overall, 1-1 in Salt Lake Conference) is scheduled to play again on Friday, April 26, at home against Alta.
Langendorf said it's important that the Miners stay hungry and don't rest on their guaranteed playoff berth.
"The top teams all make the playoffs," he said. "But you don't want to finish in the bottom (of the playoff bracket) because then you run straight into a big school and it's over. We're trying to line up against a team where we have a better shot."