Miners top Juan Diego in battle of top teams
Pederson leads the way with five goals
It was prime time on Friday evening and Park City High School was hosting the marquee athletic event. The lights were on at Dozier Field, with teams warming up on it, as the brisk air made its way through the stadium.
Fans began to pile in as it got closer and closer to the start of the game, while students were forming a sizeable student section, eager to cheer on the Miners.
No, this wasn’t a high school football game, but rather, the PCHS boys’ lacrosse team was hosting Juan Diego in the battle of top high school lacrosse teams. They are both widely-regarded as two of the best teams in the state, but thanks to five goals from Beau Pederson, Park City raced past the Soaring Eagle 11-5 to win the much-anticipated matchup.
“It’s a really nice win for us on a lot of levels,” Head Coach James Meyer said. “We’ve been going very hard here through the month of March. Fourteen games in a month and a half is a lot. We were tired and the kids have earned a little bit of time off here, which will be great.”
Pederson was the answer for Park City for much of the contest, as he did a little bit of everything for the Miners. In addition to the goals scored, he was the go-to guy in the faceoff circle. Pederson won 14 of 17 faceoffs, as Juan Diego couldn’t match his size and athleticism.
“Any chance they had to make a run, he would personally answer that run by scoring,” Meyer said of Pederson. “Really, it’s his desire and preparation. For a kid who’s only a junior, he works incredibly hard to understand the game.”
It was somewhat of a family affair for the Miners on Friday, as Pederson’s younger brother, Andrew, was a lockdown defender against Juan Diego’s impressive attack. Also aiding Park City in the win were Carlos Kinder and Dylan Bauer, who scored two goals each. Rounding out the scoring was Jack Mintz and Ryan Smith with a score apiece.
Thanks to the Park City offense possessing the ball and the defense performing well in front of him, goalie Connor French didn’t see too much action throughout. He faced just 10 shots, saving five of them, which was good enough for an even 50-percent save percentage.
“We had some kids step up and do some really exceptional things for us,” Meyer said.
The Soaring Eagle didn’t make it easy for Park City, though. With a defense that likes to press and be in the face of the opposing offense, the Miners were forced to concoct a game plan that would counter the imposing defensive fronts.
Thanks to the minds of assistant coaches Phil Dobson and Brian Bilzi, the players were prepared and made smart decisions with the ball, which, in turn, kept the ball out of Juan Diego’s hands, Meyer said.
“We had possession of the ball more than they did,” Meyer said. “We limited their opportunities to score.”
Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time this season, Park City used the masses to its advantage on Friday night.
“It was fantastic,” Meyer said. “Our kids really fed off of it. … Just having a home game for our kids was just so great. We’ve been talking all week about how we get a chance to wear our white (home color) uniforms, because we’ve been in red (away color) since the start of the year. We sort of rallied around that idea of getting to wear white again.”
The Miners will head into their Spring Break with a big win under its belt. The remaining five games on the regular-season schedule, with the first of them being against Skyline on April 19, will all be home.
Even so, Meyer is weary of the difficulty of the remainder of the schedule. Though Park City is riding high, Meyer said the team needs to remain focused if it wants to build off of the win over Juan Diego.
“[The remaining games] seem to increase in difficulty as the season goes on, culminating with Brighton [in the final game],” Meyer said. “We really only control what we do. We’re going to work really hard moving forward here. We’re going to be rested and we’re feeling good about it. We have to get better. We have to improve.”
The matchup between Park City and Skyline is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, at Matt Knoop Field.
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