PCHS boys’ lacrosse: ‘Big ones’ on tap for Park City
March 30, 2012
This is where things become fun for Andy Langendorf.
After Park City’s 20-7 road victory over Bonneville Tuesday afternoon and a 16-12 win at Copper Hills Thursday, the Miners boys’ lacrosse team is preparing for the "big ones" as the conference schedule kicks off next Tuesday in a monumental opener at Brighton.
While the victory at Bonneville was a plus, the Miners’ head coach said it was another average test for his Miners. And to make things more complicated as the conference schedule looms, he said Park City’s midfield is beaten up.
Seniors Jake Gutman and Max Wellman are playing but aren’t practicing, due to various injuries.
"We’re a little bit on the limp side," Langendorf said. "But we continue to put the ball in the net, which is a positive thing."
Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue for Park City (6-3) so far this season. Through nine games, the Miners have poured in 118 goals, which is a 13.1 average. But as Langendorf reiterated, the conference schedule will bring heightened play and new challenges as Brighton, Judge Memorial and Skyline — considered to be some of the top talents in the state — know how Park City plays.
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The challenge, Langendorf said, will rest not on the front-line attackers, but the second-stringers and the guys who aren’t traditionally known for scoring goals.
"As we go on and play the bigger programs, there’s no mystery on who they need to blanket cover," he said. "They’re going to cover Carson (Dutkanych), Jake, Rufus (Frost) with their best athletes. Our second-line guys, not putting up the big numbers — if they can’t step to the plate and start putting the numbers up, we’ll be in trouble.
"Guys like Carson are not going to have the luxury of cruising around and scoring goals. He’s going to have a tougher time."
Dutkaynch has been one of the main cogs for Park City this season. The sophomore, as of Thursday morning, had 30 goals and eight assists. Frost had 16 goals and four assists, while Gutman had 12 goals and a team-leading nine assists.
"Everybody knows who our studs are," Langendorf said. "What I’m saying to the team now is, ‘Be ready to play one-goal games.’ That’s what it’s going to boil down to. There’s going to be a crucial moment in the game where it’s going to make the difference in the end."
He said he must work on continuing his team’s hot starts, which have a tendency to cool off in the second and third periods.
"What ends up happening is we have early success, maybe a three-goal lead early, and suddenly, I call it ‘The hero factor,’" he explained. "Suddenly everybody thinks we’re going to crush this team and guys start to play more as individuals and less as a team. We drift away from our gameplan. If we do that against the better teams in the state, that will be the death of us.
"As an entire team, we’re good, but as individuals we’re not as good."
Asked if there have been any standouts during the last couple weeks, Langendorf singled out his "brunt work" guys, midfielders Ben Harries and Grant Beal.
"They’re doing the brunt of the gritty work that has led to our success up front," he said. "These guys are tough, tough lacrosse players. I wouldn’t trade those guys for the world."