Miners thrash Brighton to advance to state championship game
Park City earns opportunity to try to cap perfect season
Park City’s senior duo of Kendall Keblish and Amelia Livingston have terrorized defenses across the state all season long to lead the Miners to an undefeated record.
After a big night on Tuesday, they’ll have one more ride together: The state championship game.
The Miners easily eliminated No. 4 Brighton 18-8 in the Division A state semifinals, securing a spot in the title game. Park City will play No. 11 Waterford, which beat Olympus on Tuesday. The Miners defeated the Ravens 20-8 earlier this season.
“I can’t say enough about the seniors,” Park City coach Mikki Clayton said. “It’s making me so sad already that we have one last game together.”
The free position shot was key early on for both teams, as four of the game’s first five goals came off free position opportunities. Park City opened the scoring 80 seconds into the game with a free position goal and doubled the lead on a tally by Keblish. Brighton then tied the game at 2 with consecutive free position goals from senior Grace Rappl.
The Miners pulled away from Brighton after that with five unanswered goals, beginning with another score from a free position opportunity. Sophomore Lilly Hunt advanced toward the goal as if she was going to shoot, only to pass to a wide-open Livingston. The senior easily scored to give Park City a 3-2 lead.
Just like they have been all season, Livingston and Keblish were a dynamic offensive force for Park City on Tuesday, scoring five goals apiece. Livingston had four goals in the first half alone, and Keblish completed a hat trick in the first 12 minutes of the game.
“Kendall came out ready to play,” Clayton said. “She’s a really fierce competitor, and she hates to lose. And I think that always shows when she steps on the field. She’s not going to lose a ground ball, she’s going to go to the cage hard. She just plays with 100% heart, and it shows.”
On the defensive side of the field, the Miners completely shut down Brighton’s attack. After a third Rappl free position goal to make it 7-3 with 9:10 left in the first half, the Bengals would not find the back of the net again until the second half. From there, Park City put home five unanswered goals to take a 12-3 halftime lead.
Goalie Sadie Abuhaidar was a big reason why the Bengals struggled to find the back of the net. She made several key saves, especially early on while the game was still close.
“Sadie had an unbelievable game,” Clayton said. “She came to play, she really saved us a few times. Our defense played awesome today, but a few times when our defense did let them through, Sadie was there to stop it.”
After another Keblish goal extended the lead to 10, Brighton rallied for three unanswered goals and trailed 13-6 with 14 minutes left in the game. But Park City’s offense responded with five more goals to run away with the 18-8 victory.
“Obviously, a great win, we’re really excited about the way that our girls played today,” Clayton said. “You know, we’ve been saying all season that they just need to come out and play their game, and that’s exactly what they did today.”
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