Hawks steal girls’ postseason hopes
After a regular season that saw the Park City girls high school lacrosse team easily make the transition from Division II to the top of Division I, the Miners finally got their opportunity to prove themselves further in the postseason.
Unfortunately, the door soon closed on the Miners as they lost 8-5 to the Alta Hawks in their first playoff outing on Monday night at Dozier Field.
It hasn’t really sunk in, but I’m proud of them," said Park City head coach Amy Hafets.
In some ways the Miners high ranking may have been a liability more than a blessing. With a number of preliminary round byes, they did not play a game for a week and a half.
"It’s hard when you don’t have a game and don’t have the intensity," said Hafets.
They were also bracketed against some of the toughest teams of league, like Alta, the No. 1 ranked team in Division II.
Alta, who had to beat Timpview last week to make it to the Park City matchup, came out passing well and quickly scored within the first minute. It took Park City a minute to respond, but Clara Jane Kilbourn quickly evened up the score to 1-1 a minute later.
On defense, the Miners soon began clearing the ball in transition and making smart stops against Alta’s strong passing game.
The two teams traded goals for the rest of the first half, finishing with a 5-5 score going into halftime.
At the start of the second half, the tide began to change for the Miners. Alta won most of the draw controls and controlled ground balls, giving them a bulk of the possession.
"We were on defense much of the second half," admitted Hafets. "They put a lot of pressure on us."
As a result, the Miners’ scoring opportunities were reduced and they failed to score again in the second half. In the meantime, Alta scored three goals for an 8-5 victory.
"Whoever wins draw controls and ground balls wins the game," Hafets said.
When the Miners did have the ball, they were often met with checks and a very physical game from Alta.
"It was a very scrappy, physical game," said Park City assistant coach Lisa Peck. "The girls rose to the challenge and kept it clean."
In fact, the Miners received no penalty cards during the game.
One bright side to the Miners’ efforts was senior Ali Tingey, who finished her high school career with one goal, nine forced turnovers and one interception on defense.
"She will go from end to end and not give up," Hafets said.
Goalie Alexis Brown, another senior, was also strong on defense. She had numerous saves against the relentless Hawks, who had 26 shots on goal in the game. Both teams had over 20 shots on goals, but many of Miners’ fell just outside the net or in the hands of the Alta goalie in the second half.
Even in the loss, Hafets was proud of the Miners’ ability to do so well in their first year in the elite division.
"They have won in so many ways," Hafets said.
The Miners will only lose four seniors to graduation, and now with playoff experience under their belts, the Park City coaching staff is optimistic for next year.
We have so much depth on the team," Peck said. "We’re not losing the core of the team."
Many members of the team will continue to play in the off-season on all-star teams and in various camps. Many of the girls are on a U-17 select team that will play in the first female competitive game at the annual Park City Shootout. Even Peck and Hafets will see some summer action, playing on a women’s exhibition team in event. The Shootout is slated for June 14-16.
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