Park City girls lacrosse falls to Herriman in state title rematch
The Park City High School girls lacrosse team faced Herriman for the third consecutive time in the state championship game on Saturday at Corner Canyon High School. The Miners had defeated Herriman in both prior meetings, but for the Mustangs, the third time was the charm.
The Miners got off to a slow beginning, trailing from the start, and trailed the Mustangs through the final buzzer, falling 11-7 for their first and only loss of the season.
“Hats off to Herriman,” said Zach Sadoff, the Miners’ head coach. “They’ve been nipping at our heels for a while now. With that kind of hunger and desire, their day was going to come. Unfortunately for us, that day was today.”
Things could hardly have started worse for the Miners. The team missed a free position shot, which the Mustangs recovered and converted, carried downfield and drew a foul of their own, then scored to go up 1-0.
With 21 minutes left on the clock, Lauren Pederson, a considerable force for the Miners, was called for a foul and sent off the field with a yellow card.
Not long later, Mustangs senior All-American Aleksa Allen received the ball on the right side of the field and cut to goal, where she delivered a low shot to put the Mustangs up 2-0. The Mustangs scored again after winning the faceoff and running through a quick passing exhange in front of the Miners’ net. Six mintues into the game, the Mustangs led 3-0.
The Miners started clawing their way back in the possession that followed, starting with a free position shot for Park City’s All-American senior Shaye Henderson. Henderson tried to bounce the ball in, but it struck the turf too soon, and the bounce went over the goal instead of into the top of the net. The Miners found the rebound and got the ball to Pederson, who earned a shot through a foul. She scored and put the Miners on the board with 17 minutes left on the clock.
Four minutes later, Pederson received the ball at the top of the Mustang’s outside arc. She turned to shoot low through two Mustang defenders and missed. She was called for a dangerous follow through, giving her a second yellow card and a ticket to ride the bench for the remainder of the game.
She seemed to crumple on the spot at the sight of the card, and trudged off the field on rubbery legs.
It was a devastating blow for the Miners. Pederson had contributed all season and was a strong presence on the field.
The Miners didn’t have to play down: Samantha Riely filled Pederson’s spot on the field, but they lost a crucial player.
Both teams earned chances over the next few minutes, with Miners senior goalkeeper Courtney Kaufman earning a save. But Mustangs’ All-American Logann Eldredge received the ball on the run with a straight line to goal. Her shot from distance nestled in the back of the net to put the Mustangs ahead 4-1 with seven minutes left in the half.
The Miners called a timout, but it didn’t stop the run of play. Less than a minute later, Eldredge scored again when Allen spotted her making a short run across the face of goal. Eldredge had little work to do, and buried the shot.
Two minutes later, Park City’s Kendall Keblish earned a free position for the Miners, and ripped a sidearm shot past Leah Park.
After another two minutes passed, Eldredge answered again, juking inside the Miners’ defense to score from close range.
When the halftime buzzer sounds, the Mustangs led 6-2, and their fans shook the bleachers with their stomping feet.
The Mustangs set the tone again after the break. All-state senior Maya Lightfoot received the ball to Kaufman’s right side, backing away from her defender, who was herding her behind the goal, then Lightfoot turned abruptly toward goal and cut inside for a shot, a goal, and the Mustangs’ lead expanded to 7-2, with 19 minutes left in the game.
Park City senior Corrine Sullivan picked up a goal for the Miners after a missed free position shot by Riely. Sullivan earned a free position shot, rolled to her right and scored with 14 minutes left in the game.
The Mustangs picked up another goal from a free position shot, then Henderson briefly changed the momentum of the game. She scored twice in a row from free position shots, bringing the Miners within three points (8-5). Herriman called a timeout after the play, with nine minutes remaining, and though the Mustangs still led, it was the Miners’ fans turns to shake the bleachers.
But the Mustangs came back in force.
Allen slipped through a tightly packed Miners defense to get close to goal, then drew a free position shot and scored. With four minutes left on the clock, Eldredge earned another free position, and scored to bring the Mustangs ahead 10-5.
With two minutes left, the Mustangs’ Justine Spahr went down and the game took a timeout for injury.
When play resumed, the Miners gained possession, but missed a free-position shot. The Miners regained possession and set up Henderson for another goal. By that point the writing was on the wall: They trailed 10-6 with time rapidly running out.
Allen connected with Eldredge again for the Mustangs’ last goal of the game, with Allen passing to the senior as she charged straight on at Kaufman, flicking the ball home.
Henderson finished the game by earning a free position and the last goal of the game with 20 seconds left on the clock.
The Mustangs’ fan section counted down the last 10 seconds of the game.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Mustangs’ bench stormed the field to congratulate their teammates. The title was finally theirs.
“I’m proud of the girls, the fight,” Sadoff said after the game. “With the season, sometimes it’s about peaking at the right time. The peak clearly wasnt today, but that’s sports, that’s why we play the game.”
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.