Park City meets Juan Diego in first round of playoffs
Under the bright lights of Soaring Eagle Stadium, the Park City boys’ lacrosse team will look to make a statement in the first round of the state playoffs tonight.
The Miners are set to take on Juan Diego, one of the state’s top seeds and a team that defeated Park City 12-7 May 2 at Dozier Field.
Head coach Rich Levi said being familiar with the team you play in the first round of the playoffs is a definite advantage and he feels his team knows what to expect against the Soaring Eagle.
"That’s always a plus, when you get to see the team you’ve come up against pretty recently," he said. "There’s not a lot of guesswork. You prepare for what you saw a week ago.
"You expect them to make a few changes, but nothing too obvious."
As for upsetting arguably the best team in the state?
"The big thing for us is coming off that loss, do our guys have the confidence, and do we really believe we can beat this team?" Levi asked. "After losing to them just a week ago, that’s going to be a hurdle for us for sure."
The Miners made it all the way to the state championship a year ago, and while they lost a boatload of senior talent, Levi said it’s now on the shoulders of this year’s seniors and juniors to make their stamp on the program.
"All year long we’ve been kind of banking on that experience and hoping that those guys with the taste of the (2010) state finals can really pull the rest of our guys with them," he said. "At this point in the season, it’s almost as if these guys they want their own identity.
"Last year’s team, it was a great trip for them, but their mentality is, there’s only one 2010-2011 varsity team."
Park City will no doubt be relying on senior Griffin Perkiel who, Levi says, "is our leader," along with Mark West and Tyler Gaebe to provide that senior leadership in a hostile environment.
Levi also singled out juniors Chris Boland and Colin Roberson and sophomores Alex Boyle, Daniel West, Graham Clark and Grant Beal as players who must step up against the Soaring Eagle.
"It’s kind of their time to step into the limelight," he said.
A pleasant surprise this year has been freshman Carson Dutkanych, who has been on an offensive tear as of late.
"The last three or four games, he’s really come on and really solidified his spot on the attack," Levi said of his freshman attackman. "He’s put in a ton of time away from the practice field on his own and it’s paying off for sure."
Park City’s defense is relatively young, but Levi expects the upperclassmen to help ease the early-game jitters.
"It’ll be interesting to see how those guys step up and I think they will," he said. "I think they’re ready."
And how is the first-year head coach getting his team pumped up for the do-or-die situation?
"They’re pretty much doing that on their own," he said. "Just making sure they’re coming out of their skin come face-off time. The emotion will be there. The energy will be there. Once you hit playoff time, the adrenaline is kicking no matter what. Making the playoffs is a great thing, but going out in the first round is not. They need to know they can win this game."
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