Miners are committed to continue team success | ParkRecord.com

Miners are committed to continue team success

PCHS girls lacrosse aims to maintain strong legacy

The Park City High School girls lacrosse team celebrates after defeating American Fork 16-7 in the state championship game last season. The Miners will be going for their fourth-straight title in 2017.

As the three-time defending Division-1 state champion, the Park City High School girls' lacrosse team is no stranger to success. Many would point to the individuals as a main reason why the team has achieved much in recent years. Some former team members have gone on to play the sport at the collegiate level.

While dedicated players are part of the recipe to the team's success, player turnover is something Head Coach Kassandra Lemons and company go through each season. One thing, however, remains the same: the team's culture.

"We just create a culture of commitment," Lemons said. "The girls, they're young but they take the sport seriously, and at the same time, have a ton of fun. I think every year brings a new dynamic. The one thing that returns is the respect for the game and each other. They really commit to working hard and doing it together.

"We've kind of found that equation and got it narrowed down."

If history is any indicator, the Miners should be competing for their fourth-straight title heading into the season, which starts on March 2 with a home game against Olympus. The team lost just two seniors from last year's squad and returns many players that were instrumental in last year's state title run.

"We're a really young team," Lemons said. "I think the state, in general, did not predict us coming out on top [last year] and we fought through that. This year, we have a couple of new kids on board, but then the same talent that we had last year. We're really going to perform on the field."

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Park City has already gotten some early competition in, though the official season hasn't started. Last week, the Miners scrimmaged against Brighton, a team they've grown a friendly rivalry with in the last few years. They will have their second scrimmage of the exhibition season when they take on the University of Utah women's club team.

While none of these matches actually count for anything in terms of standings or postseason play, Lemons finds these types of contests pivotal in the development of her team.

"Any time you can get the kids out playing in a game-like situation against other people, it's going to benefit them," Lemons said. "However, we're playing some of the best teams in the nation this year when we travel out to California. I really need to see them play under pressure in a little bit more of an aggressive game. We think that the University of Utah club team can provide that."

The plan that Lemons has laid out is so that the Miners can perform their very best this season. If it means a fourth-straight state title, then so be it, but that's not the primary goal for them.

"[A state title is] an outcome goal," Lemons said. "We talk about it quite often in our program that a championship is an outcome goal. If we do all the small goals that we set for ourselves, we'll get there."

While the culture and the season goals remain the same, Park City is ushering in a few beneficial changes this year. The first, and probably most influential, change is the team is welcoming a new assistant coach, Eileen Finn.

The new coach has a wealth of lacrosse experience under her belt, including a player career at Syracuse University. Her coaching resume started at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she coached for two years before becoming the defensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire for the last three seasons.

Finn's knowledge of the sport will aid the Miners in their quest for another championship.

"She's just brought an entire new dynamic to the program," Lemons said of Finn. "The talent we had before, that I dealt with, is now being pushed even further and it's really exciting for the program."

The other change to the program is the Miners are now sponsored by Under Armour. From uniforms to swag for the players to rock off of the field, the sponsorship is a most-welcomed change, Lemons said.

"The girls are really excited," she said. "We're really proud to represent their brand."

Park City's first game of the season against Olympus is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. at Dozier Field.