Park City girls lacrosse caps undefeated season with state championship
Miners capture title with 17-11 victory over Waterford
Senior midfielder Kendall Keblish, the Park City High School girls lacrosse team’s leading scorer, knew what was at stake on Friday night: an undefeated season, a state championship and a smooth ride into the sunset with her fellow seniors.
She understood what it took to win a state championship after bringing one home her freshman year, but she also knew the heartbreak of coming up short. First there was a brutal 11-7 loss in the state finals to Herriman her sophomore year. Then there was the 2020 campaign that ended prematurely due to the pandemic.
So with the score tied at 4 in Friday’s Division A state title game against Waterford and the Miners reeling from allowing three unanswered goals in the first half, Keblish did what any senior leader would do and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Keblish scored three goals in a little more than a minute to kickstart an 8-2 run for the Miners, putting them in front 12-6 at halftime. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Park City defeated Waterford 17-11 at Layton High School to capture the first UHSAA-sanctioned state lacrosse title and the school’s first championship since it completed a five-peat in 2018.
“You know, last year’s team meant the world to me as well, and this win was for them as well,” said Keblish, who ended the night with seven goals. “And that’s one of the things that I really wanted to do for them was just, this one’s for this team and last year’s because we got it stripped from us when we were ready to go to come back from that loss the year before.”
After winning the opening draw control, Keblish raced downfield and scored the game’s first goal just 14 seconds in. Junior Samantha Riely potted two more goals, and sophomore Lilly Hunt added another to give Park City an early 4-1 lead.
But then Waterford senior Jaimeson Meyer started to take over for the Ravens. Meyer, who had nine goals on the night, scored three goals to tie the game at 4 before Keblish went on her tear to restore a three-goal Park City lead. The Miners tallied five goals in the last five minutes of the first half, including another one from Keblish, to take a commanding lead into the half.
Waterford managed to slow down Park City’s attack in a much more even second half, but the closest the Ravens came to a comeback was on a Meyer goal to bring them within five goals with just over 10 minutes to play. Still, Waterford was the only team this year to score double-digit goals on the Miners.
Possessing a seven-goal lead with 5:21 left in the game, Park City opted to slow the game down and kill as much clock as possible. As the clock ticked down and the raucous red-and-black-garbed Park City student section grew louder, the game was essentially over. The Miners’ bench stormed the field after the clock hit 0:00, only to be joined by the fans in the stands a few minutes later.
“It like felt closer than it actually was, but you know, we pulled through,” said Riely, who had five goals for the Miners. “Our mindset was it’s always 0-0.”
Championships are always the expectation for Park City, but three years without a title shouldn’t feel like a drought. However, there was always an intense hunger for the Miner players to take part in a scene like Friday night: celebrating on the field with friends, families and classmates, lifting the trophy and taking celebratory photos commemorating the occasion.
“They were ready for this game, they’ve been ready for states all season long,” Miners coach Mikki Clayton said. “You know, every game they’ve just been working towards it, they knew that, you know, this is going to be a tough season and they just came to play every game and just kept working toward states.”
The only bittersweet moment on Friday night for Park City was knowing that this was the last time this group would play together. The Miners will miss seniors like Keblish, goalie Sadie Abuhaidar and Amelia Livingston, among others.
“One of our things we said at the beginning of the game was, ‘We got 50 minutes left together, that’s it,’” Keblish said. “There’s nothing after this with this exact group. So just, like, keep your head high, work hard and let’s push it. This is all we got, so use it all.”
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