PCHS girls’ lacrosse: Miners narrowly miss first-place finish in Vegas
March 9, 2012
Going into this past weekend’s Best of the West lacrosse tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., the Park City High School girls’ lacrosse team wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
The team had lost five varsity seniors to graduation, and one of the team’s leading scorers from last season, Dani Lecher, who tore her ACL skiing two weeks ago. Going into the tournament, the girls hadn’t had one practice this winter with all team players present. But despite those challenges, they performed exceptionally well.
In pool play the Miners went 4-0 by beating Faith Lutheran and Bishop Gordon from Nevada, Pinnacle/Desert Divas from Phoenix, Ariz., and Utah’s Judge Memorial.
Park City then advanced to a semifinal match against Utah’s Jordan High School. However, the Miners’ opponent was not able to field a full team for the Sunday match and asked Park City coach Amy Hafets for permission to add some Brighton players to cover the shortfall. In the interest of honoring the game and gaining experience against a very strong team, Hafets agreed to play the combo team. The Miners fought hard but fell to the Jordan/Brighton squad, 10-6.
Following that match, however, the tournament organizers, determined that, because Jordan could not field a complete team of its own players, it would need to forfeit the match.
That put Park City into the championship match against Centennial from Nevada. Ten minutes after finishing the Jordan/Brighton match (in 80 degree weather), and moments after taking off their cleats and preparing for the drive back to Park City, the Miners were back on the field.
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The two teams exchanged goals throughout the game and were tied 3-3 at half. With a few minutes remaining, Park City was up by one. However, Centennial got possession back and scored. The game went into overtime.
In overtime, Centennial grabbed the draws and quickly scored two. Park City powered in one more goal to cut the deficit to 8-7, but the clock ran out despite a gallant effort by a very exhausted team.
The girls’ squad returned home late Sunday, and ventured to the practice field on Monday to prepare for a big game against Alta High School in Sandy on Tuesday. U.S. Lacrosse Magazine had named this game as one of the top five high school games in the nation to watch.
Park City took an early 2-0 lead, but Alta quickly rallied to go ahead 3-2, creating some tension among the Park City fans. But the nerves were on the sideline not the field. Park City, led by the calm and resolve of senior attack Sam Meyer, and the take-no prisoners defense of Senior Katie Coleman, kept the mainly young squad focused and brought the score back in their favor. At the half, the Miners were up 5-4.
Meyer and Alex Miele made their penalty shots count and bumped the Miners up two more points to make it 7-5. With 10 minutes left in the second half, Park City needed to control possession. It was near-textbook play from that point on with the offensive attack passing around the perimeter with perfection, dodging doubles, and avoiding the temptation to take it to goal and lose possession. One parent recorded 37 consecutive passes without a drop or bad pass (not an easy feat in a blizzard).
A three-second penalty against Alta gave Park City sophomore Kenna Tychsen a penalty shot opportunity with a few minutes to go. Based on her read of the defense and with great confidence, she powered in a goal past the keeper to bring the Miners’ lead up to 8-5.
Rounding out a solid defense for Park City was freshman Hannah Hyatt, who finished with two blocked penalty shots and a handful of steals, as well as a stellar performance by Ashley Peabody with several stops at goal, and a total teamwork approach with doubles and triples by Hyatt, Coleman, Sierra Schlag, and freshman Ellie Meyer, which kept Alta to only one point in the entire second half.
It was a very impressive team win by the entire Miners’ squad against Alta, which is ranked eighth in the Western Region. Park City returns to action Tuesday, March 13, on the road at Jordan.