Park City boys lacrosse earns two narrow wins to start season
Park City Lacrosse Club started its season with a 7-6 win on March 9 over Brighton, a team that has historically been tough. In a recent interview, coach James Meyer said the Miners have several things working in their favor, including a handful of skilled upperclassmen, though its still searching for its stride.
Bernhardt “Beau” Pederson is first and foremost on that list. A familiar face in Park City High School’s contact sports scene, Pederson will play the role of captain, playmaker, and for now, goal scorer.
“He’s probably the biggest, fastest, strongest midfielder in the state,” Meyer said of the all-state senior. “He’s a coach’s dream because you never have to worry about him giving maximum effort every play.”
Connor French, the team’s goalie and Pederson’s classmate, said Pederson also helps keep the team motivated and brings players together. The game against Brighton was sort of a case study in that regard.
“Beau Pederson put the team on his back and willed us to win,” Meyer said. “We had seven goals and he scored five of them.”
He also scored the game winning goal against American Fork on Thursday in a 5-4 victory.
Meyer said French is stepping up in his own right, taking on a larger leadership role this year, and said the senior is “incredibly technically sound, has a great IQ, understands angles really well.”
The team also welcomed back Eli Levine, its long-absent face-off man who tore his labrum (a piece of tissue in the shoulder socket) in his sophomore year and spent last season watching from the sidelines.
“Going into (the Brighton game), the couple of weeks before I was incredibly nervous,” Levine said. “I was trying to hide it a little bit, but it was definitely pretty nerve-wracking. After the first couple face-offs … the nerves wore off and I was just excited to be out there.”
Levine is coming off of six months of rehab — mainly shoulder strength workouts — and rejoins the team in a crucial position.
Junior Marc Colaizzi, one of a handful of players who just finished hockey season, will anchor the team’s defense, which is filled out by up-and coming players like sophomores Andrew Pederson, Brady Baumann and Luke McCall.
Meyer said most of the rest of the team is underclassmen.
In many ways, those four sophomores (including Dylan Bauer) are a huge part of what we are doing,” Meyer said. “They’ve all gotten bigger, stronger and faster this last year, and the three sophomore defenders are a big part of our defense.”
So far, the Miners have not established the dominance that they hope to achieve, and started their season with a nail-biter, going down 2-0 at the half against Brighton.
“All of us were pretty frustrated and nervous because we really weren’t playing our best,” Levine said of the halftime huddle. “We had a nice halftime debrief, our coach kind of told everyone to calm down and focus on who we are, and we really started grinding in the second half. Got a couple goals back and made it a tie game, and then Beau Pederson scored the final goal with two seconds left.”
Levine said it felt good to start the season with such a dramatic win, though the coaches weren’t pleased with the team’s performance.
But according to Meyer, the team is picking up where it left off. Though the Miners lost in the state semifinals last season, the 2016-2017 team left the team with a good cultural foundation, “one of dedication and camaraderie, which has carried into this year.”
If the team is going to make their ultimate goal of taking home the title, French said it will have to correct some errors from the Brighton game — including creating a better orchestrated defense.
But for all the small mistakes, Levine said he expects the team to continue to achieve great things.
“It’s so exciting,” he said. “This is probably the best team we’ve had in a couple years and we have a lot of really good guys. I’m stoked to be out there with them.”
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