PCHS boys’ LAX advances in Class A playoffs
May 13, 2016
In the aftermath of a surprising loss to Bingham last Friday, the Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team didn’t enter Tuesday’s first-round playoff game with much momentum.
However, the poor shooting and lack of energy that plagued the Miners against Bingham didn’t carry over to Tuesday night’s game against Judge Memorial. The Miners controlled the game from the opening faceoff and held on to defeat the Bulldogs 13-9.
Park City Coach Nick Gradinger said he was glad the Miners bounced back from Friday’s loss with a disciplined offensive effort.
"We knew Judge was going to try to slow the game down," he said. "They run a really good zone defense and we had to be patient. We had to wait for good shots and I think we did a good job of finding seams in the zone tonight, not being frivolous with the ball and taking care of it in a fashion that was conducive to us putting up goals."
In addition to focusing on quality shots after Friday’s struggles, Gradinger said quantity was a concern, too.
"In the playoffs, our mentality is just to pepper goalies [with shots]," he said. "We need to put shots on the cage. Guys did a good job tonight of picking their spots and taking shots in their range."
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Gradinger highlighted a couple of players who stepped up and had strong efforts against the Bulldogs.
"Aiden Christensen had a heck of a game tonight for a freshman," he said. "And Grayson Maddux did a great job in the middle of the field and I thought we did a good job of controlling the tempo of the game — pushing when we needed to and slowing down when we had to."
Defensively, Gradinger said there’s room for improvement before the next round of the playoffs, but he was happy with the team’s energy. Additionally, he said freshman goalie Connor Hollison looked strong between the pipes.
Hollison, who has been thrust into a starting role due to injuries to starter Sheridan Buchholz and backup Connor French, was a big factor in the Miners’ victory.
"One thing we do have in abundance up here in Park City is we have three unbelievable goalies," Gradinger said. "It’s something we do not take for granted. We’ve got three guys who, as far as I’m concerned, could be first-team All-State guys. We’ve had a ‘next man up’ mentality all year and it’s what we’ve had to do as a result of our injuries. Now we’ve got a freshman who plays with a lot of energy and a lot of confidence and it’s great to see Connor Hollison step in and make a couple big saves to solidify a win for us."
On Friday, after this issue went to press, the Miners (the No. 4 seed in the playoffs) were scheduled to host No. 5 Fremont at Dozier Field. Gradinger said the Miners would have to play well to stop a red-hot opponent.
"Fremont is a team that’s playing at an unprecedented level for their program," he said. "They’ve got two or three kids who are absolutely phenomenal. They do really well at the faceoff and goalkeeping. We’ll probably see a little different style of play and a little more run and gun and we’ll have to defend some athletic dodgers."
If Park City defeats Fremont on Friday night, the semifinal matchup is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. at PCHS.