Park City falls to Corner Canyon in boys lacrosse state final
A ‘bittersweet’ finish to a 17-3 season for the Miners
Despite the Park City boys lacrosse team leading 7-6 at halftime, all it took was 28 seconds for the Miners’ bid to upset undefeated Corner Canyon and win the state title to unravel.
Corner Canyon Junior Jon King, who is the state’s leading scorer, found the back of the net for the first time all game, then senior Eric Neilson scored twice in 11 seconds to suddenly give the Chargers a 9-7 lead. The outburst was the beginning of a second half where the top-ranked Chargers outscored the Miners 14-7 to take home the Division A state championship with a 20-13 win at Layton High School.
“The boys battled hard, you know, I think we gave them a scare,” Miners coach Michael Persky said. “They’re a strong team, they’re well-coached, they played a great game.”
Park City had the possession advantage early on and took a 3-1 lead less than three minutes into the game. In fact, the Miners never trailed in the first half and looked like they could give the Chargers a run for their money.
In the second quarter, Park City slowed down the pace, held onto possession as long as possible and ultimately kept the ball out of the hands of Corner Canyon’s star-studded attack. For the Miners, the best defense was never playing defense.
But Park City struggled to turn possession into goals. The Miners’ offense was undone by costly turnovers, missed shots and timely saves by Corner Canyon goalie Ayden Santi. Park City only scored two goals in the frame, taking a 7-6 advantage into halftime after Corner Canyon scored with five seconds left in the half.
“We had a plan, the plan required us to get some possessions, and we did in the first half,” Persky said. “We controlled the game, but we just couldn’t sustain it.”
In the second half, the Miners struggled to even possess the ball, let alone score. The Chargers were dominant in draw controls, and while the Chargers missed the net several times in the first half, they couldn’t stop lighting up the scoreboard in the second. Corner Canyon scored six times in the third quarter to lead 12-9.
The Chargers continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, especially as Park City couldn’t afford to slow the game down as the deficit widened. Corner Canyon scored another eight goals in the final quarter to take the 20-13 victory.
The game was more competitive than when the Miners lost 20-10 to Corner Canyon earlier in the season. Park City’s 13 goals were the most any team has scored on the Chargers this year.
There’s no such thing as moral victories, though, especially for Park City’s seniors. A year after the pandemic canceled last season, a loss in the state championship game was not how they envisioned their final game together.
“It was a good season, saying goodbye to all of my friends that I played with the past 10 years,” said senior Connor Monson, who had four goals in the loss. “Tough to end on a loss.”
That sentiment was also shared by senior Tyler Vendetti. Vendetti was second on the team in goals behind Monson, but he was held scoreless on Saturday.
“It’s bittersweet, you know?” Vendetti said. “Because I’m really excited to be playing with teammates, and you know, we’re in the championship game, right? Just because we lose in the championship game doesn’t mean the season was a waste. But it is tough, you know. It’s tough to go out on a loss.”
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