Prep boys lacrosse a work in progress
It’s a year of new beginnings for the Park City boys lacrosse team.
As soon as the snow melts, the team will have a brand new home field to play on tat the Quinn’s Junction Sports Complex, and lacrosse, from a developmental standpoint, continues to thrive in the area.
On the flip side of things, the Miners lost most of their starting lineup to graduation. Of those left, two others ended their hopes for playing any spring sports after going down with ski injuries earlier in the year. With those key losses, Park City head coach Jeff Munger has been forced to use a team made up of almost all underclassman. Sophomore midfielders Jason Hornick and Ryan Emerson, both sophomores, are among the few returning varsity players. The rest are essentially the junior varsity squad.
"We are so young," Munger said. "We are just rebuilding."
The season outlook isn’t shocking to Munger. As state title contenders last year with a team full of seniors, it was evident this next year might be a struggle.
"It’s the nature of coaching. It’s cyclical," Munger said.
The Miners did start their season off on a fairly positive note over the weekend, finishing with a record of 2-2 at the Best of the West Tournament in Las Vegas. The event was the team’s first time playing on grass, since their new home field is still buried beneath the snow.
Practice is another challenge for the team. Juggling time with Park City High School’s baseball, softball and soccer team means that the Miners must practice late at night and on weekends.
On Tuesday, Park City had their first taste of competition against state powerhouse Jordan, who crushed the young team 17-1. Munger said that the mix of nerves and inexperience against such a strong team was literally an eye-opening experience for the boys.
"It was very difficult to start the season against Jordan," Munger said.
Munger is optimistic that once the team gets their feet underneath them and plays other teams, they will start relaxing in game situations. Right now, he says that the team struggles with confidence when they are down a few goals, which is something the Park City coaches are hoping to remedy.
"The effort is there, but what we teach in practice hasn’t transferred to the field yet," Munger said.
Besides Hornick and Emerson, the Miners will also be depending on the play of sophomore Corey Shurtleff, a co-captain with Emerson, junior Tyler Scott and varsity returnee Justin Altman to win games this season.
"We’re very excited about the season, but we understand that there’s a level of expectation because of age," Munger said.
As for the junior varsity, head coach Rory Murphy said that he has no problem sharing the bulk of his squad with the varsity level this year.
"What our primary interest is, is to promote the program for all of Park City and anything we can do to help out the varsity guys we’re are going to do," Murphy said.
The Miners will be in action again next Tuesday, March 28 at Waterford at 4 p.m. A home game is scheduled for the following Thursday, March 31 against Judge at 4 p.m., but Munger expects snow will force the game back down to the valley.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.