Park City punches ticket to state title game
Miners defeat rival Wasatch 18-2 in state semifinals
Park City’s girls lacrosse team faced rival Wasatch Tuesday afternoon in the state semifinals with local bragging rights and a spot in the state title game on the line. The Miners left no doubts as to who the best lacrosse team in the Wasatch Back is.
The Miners outscored Wasatch 8-1 in the first half and walked away with an 18-2 win to advance to the state championship game. Park City will face Olympus on Thursday at Zions Bank Stadium at 5 p.m. The Miners defeated Olympus 11-5 earlier in the season, their closest game thus far.
“The girls played just great on all ends of the field,” Park City coach Mikki Clayton said. “Ava (Kimche) came up with huge saves whenever they were able to get shots off. Our defense played as a solid unit. Our midfield was great. The attack ride was awesome today. And once the attack kind of calmed down a little bit, they really started to gel and just play really well. So it was truly a team win today.”
Park City jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three goals from free position opportunities. After Wasatch responded with a goal of its own, the Miners scored 11 unanswered goals, five of which came in the first half. Sophomore Macy Hoeksema had two goals in the first half during that run.
“I thought I played really well,” she said. “I was definitely trying to step it up because this was the semifinals. And they’re a good, aggressive team, so you just gotta bring that energy back.”
At the other end of the field, Kimche made several saves to prevent Wasatch from scoring. Park City has outscored its opponents in the playoffs 63-2 in three games. The two goals that Kimche allowed on Tuesday were the first that Park City has given up since a 22-2 win over Highland on May 11. Kimche made nine saves on 11 shots against the Wasps.
“My defense is doing a really good job of making sure that they were saves that I could get,” Kimche said. “I give it all to my defense, they played really well today.”
Even though Park City has played a lot of one-sided games this year, it has received plenty of quality performances like Tuesday’s from Kimche. According to MaxPreps, Kimche’s .656 save percentage is second in the state.
“Anytime a shot was fired at her, she came up with awesome saves,” Clayton said. “The two goals Wasatch scored were great goals, so they’re hard to save. You know, you can’t get them all. But she played phenomenal. She’s such a saving grace for us to have back there. Anytime our defense does break down, she comes up with big saves.”
One more win separates Park City from back-to-back seasons with an undefeated record and a state title. Its season comes down to one more game, and the Miners are more than ready for it.
“It’s an amazing feeling just because I know that our team has worked so hard,” Hoeksema said. “Everyone is just so ready for this. This is what we’ve been working for this whole season.”
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