Miners march onward
The Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team is determined to get its money’s worth out of Dozier Field this season.
After inclement weather forced the Miners onto the road late into March, Park City has earned three consecutive postseason appearances on its home turf, ending with Wednesday’s semifinal matchup against Jordan at 7 p.m.
The Miners (11-3) beat Lone Peak 10-7 in the Division I quarterfinals Saturday morning at Dozier, showing resiliency and superior depth while holding off a tenacious opponent.
"We played well against a really athletic, talented team," said PCHS head coach Ryan Sheaffer, due for a permanent move to Philadelphia after the season ends. "I talked to the guys a lot about not taking them lightly, and we didn’t."
Sam "The Garbage Man" Sisk continued his recent surge by scrapping for four goals around the Lone Peak crease. The senior with no varsity lacrosse experience prior to this season has emerged as one of the team’s leaders at the offensive end.
"It’s just hustle," Sheaffer said after awarding Sisk the game ball. "We call them garbage goals, when that ball’s on the ground and somebody’s got to go in there and just put their head down and put it in."
Sisk, senior middle Matt Mersereau and junior attackman Griffin Perkiel each tied for the game high with four points, while the Miners’ defense kept its focus despite a few threatening flourishes from Lone Peak.
"We played a consistent game," Sheaffer said. "Sometimes we’ve lacked consistency. We were able to put balls in the back of the net and the defense did a good job. I couldn’t be happier."
The Miners led 4-2 after the first quarter, getting two goals from Perkiel, one from senior Dillon Dutkanych and one from Mersereau. Zak Stout scored both goals for the Knights (8-4).
That lead stretched to 5-2 in the third when Dutkanych cut across the middle and shot back across his body to beat the Lone Peak keeper near side.
"A lot of times, there were just little gaps in their defense that we were able to take advantage of," Sisk said.
Connor Humphrey pulled Lone Peak back to 5-3 on a lefty bounce shot, and the visitors controlled possession for a while as the Miners gathered themselves.
After finally crossing the half for an attack of their own, the Miners took a 6-3 lead when Sisk caught a high deflection and flicked it in quickly into the net for a score before the break. But Park City knew its work wasn’t done yet.
"They were still nagging," Sisk said. "That’s what they’re known for. They came back in the first round of the playoffs after being down four, so we knew right there that they were still going to be in the game and we were going to have to play until the final buzzer."
Stout scored again after the restart, breaking through the heart of the Miners’ defense for an unopposed shot. A nifty scoop shot from Aaron Fjelsted brought it to 6-5 minutes later.
"They were just really good on fast breaks," said Miners’ senior defenseman David O’Day. "They had three players that are really, really good. We just couldn’t stop them."
The best defense was a good offense on Saturday, and Sisk picked up a ground ball after a series of collisions in front of the crease, jumped to free himself, and scored again to restore Park City’s cushion.
The game’s breakneck pace had players on both sideline wheezing and gasping for breath, but PCHS mustered enough of a push for one more tally before the end of the third – again coming from the stick of Sisk.
A hard shot from Mersereau fell back out of the goalie’s netting, then Sisk scooped it up and directed it toward net while getting pushed to the ground from behind.
The lead stretched to four at 9-5, PCHS’ biggest of the game, when Dutkanych set up Mersereau from behind the cage for an easy goal within 40 seconds of the start of the fourth quarter.
The Miners then sagged back as Lone Peak pulled out all the stops to catch up. First Stout found a teammate in front for a bounce shot that found the netting, then a Humphrey breakaway goal pulled Lone Peak within two at 9-7 with 2:45 left.
"They did a good job of getting back in the game a couple of times, but each time they did, we responded," Sheaffer said.
Park City won possession and appeared content to preserve the two-goal margin until Perkiel loaded up a laser beam from the point that squeezed under the crossbar for his hat trick and an insurmountable three-goal advantage as little more than a minute remained before the final whistle.
Hoburg stopped six shots in the game before getting pummeled by teammates in celebration of the semifinal berth.
"He probably let maybe one or two in that he’d like to have back, but he made most of the saves that he was supposed to make, and he made some that he shouldn’t have made," Sheaffer said.
Dozier Field hosted Division II semifinals on Monday and Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Park City High School girls’ lacrosse had a semifinal battle of its own against Alta on Tuesday night at Juan Diego Stadium after The Record went to press. The winner of that game will play in the state championship at Viewmont High School Stadium on Saturday, May 15, at 4 p.m.
Park City boys’ fans are encouraged to wear red for the "Park City Red Rally" in support of the Miners on Wednesday night. Admission to the game is $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
"Three in a row – that’s unheard of for the playoffs," O’Day said. "One last win and then we’re on to the championship."
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