Miners boys lacrosse fights back to beat Brighton 10-8
Spectators at Dozier Field on Wednesday night may have gotten a glance of what’s to come at the boys lacrosse state championship. On Wednesday night, No. 1 Park City defeated No. 2 Brighton 10-8 in the last regular season game of the year. There’s a good possibility to the two will meet again.
“It was a weird game,” said Park City coach Brian Bilzi. “Our kids seemed a little nervous in the first half. But (at) halftime they got it together and responded huge in the second half.”
The Miners went down 6-3 before halftime.
Bilzi said Brighton had capitalized on some errors by the Miners, but that is the nature of playing Brighton – they make teams pay for their mistakes.
Bilzi said he and the team took spoke frankly about the situation at halftime as they approached the second half trailing by three.
“We said, ‘Guys, you could not have played worse,’” he said. “I know that doesn’t sound positive, but we didn’t see the need for any huge adjustments. Because we did have opportunities and looks in the first half, we just weren’t finishing them. … They knew they need to play better, and they did.”
Bilzi said in the second half, the team started winning more ground balls and junior Sam Levine started dominating the face-offs, giving the Miners more possessions.
Overall, the team relaxed and settled into its game, Bilzi said.
“My message to (the team) is let the game come to you,” he said. “When we force it is when we lose our structure and our way of playing. They were a little more methodical and the opportunities started to open up offensively.”
Junior attackman Dylan Bauer led the team in scoring, putting up four goals over the course of the game.
“Bauer went off, as he does,” Bilzi said. “He was phenomenal last night.”
Senior midfielder Toby Burke also played well, scoring two goals, as did sophomore attacking midfielder Tyler Vendetti, who also scored twice.
Levine and sophomore two-way midfielder Kirby Baynes notched a goal each.
As for the defense, Bilzi said his players were “wild dogs.”
“They love big games, our defensive guys,” he said. “We give them matchups and they take it very personally.”
Junior long-stick midfielder Andrew Pederson was assigned to cover one of Brighton’s leading attackman, junior Blake Yates, while sophomore defender Luke McCall shut down their other, Josh Nydegger.
“Luke has a way of taking people out of the game, and he did it again last night,” Bilzi said.
Bilzi said while it is always fun to beat one of their biggest rivals, the way they did it was the icing on the cake.
“If we blow them out or they blow us out, you really don’t learn much going into the playoffs,” he said. “But I expect if things go right for the both of us we will probably play each other again. I think we will both be better prepared for round two.”
The Miners will begin the first round of playoffs on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Dozier Field. Their opponent is yet to be decided.
The state championships will be held on Saturday, May 18, at Corner Canyon High School.
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.