PCHS boys’ LAX disappoints in home loss
Fans gathered at Dozier Field on Wednesday night were hoping for a great game between the Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team and the Corner Canyon Chargers. The Miners and Chargers squared off at Corner Canyon High School last year in the state championship game, with Corner Canyon holding on for a nail-biting 9-8 victory.
Wednesday night’s game didn’t live up to the title-rematch billing. The Chargers controlled the game and cruised to an easy 13-7 victory.
Though the matchup looked great on paper, Park City Coach Nick Gradinger said the Miners are not the same team they were last year.
"We’ve been really inconsistent in practice," he said. "We’ve been inconsistent with the guys who have been healthy and we’ve been inconsistent with the guys who have been in attendance and it showed. We saw this coming from a mile away."
Gradinger said the Miners need to look at the Chargers as the standard they need to strive to reach as the season moves forward.
"That’s a well-coached team and a disciplined team," he said. "It just shows how much work we have to do to be up where we want to be. If we have a goal of winning a state championship, we’re so far off and it’s only going to come with hard work."
Though the Miners got off to a decent start against Corner Canyon, Gradinger said a slew of uncharacteristic mistakes doomed Park City.
"Our defense was abysmal this evening," he said. "We were undisciplined. We were leaving guys open and playing really uncharacteristically for our group. We have high expectations for our defense and we let our offense down.
"Our offense was in a rhythm early and we just were killing them because we couldn’t get the ball back. We were the worst I’ve ever seen in the clear since I moved here. You can’t work hard to get stops and then hand the ball back over and expect to win a ballgame against a really well-coached team."
By the second half, with the Miners facing a sizable deficit, the attack began to get sloppy, too.
"It’s purely a byproduct of being undisciplined," Gradinger said. "It wasn’t us pressing and it wasn’t us feeling the strain of a four-goal deficit — it was us being undisciplined and us being unwilling to take it one play at a time. You’re never going to be successful if that’s your approach."
Gradinger hopes the lopsided loss will bring renewed energy and focus to Park City’s practice sessions moving forward.
"We saw [the loss] coming from a mile away as a coaching staff," he said. "The reality is you have two choices. You can either wallow in the sorrows of a loss like that or you can use it as a catalyst to help you move forward. Our coaching staff will do everything we can to use it as a turning point in our season. It just shows how much work we have to do."
Park City (8-3 overall) returned to the field on Friday night against Waterford, after this issue went to press. Gradinger said he and the coaching staff would be looking for a more connected, disciplined game.
"We need to get back to playing what we call Park City ball," he said. "That’s just playing tough, playing smart and being a really well-oiled, disciplined program. We were so far off of that tonight that all we can do on Friday evening is try to play the way that we’ve set expectations for and go from there."
Park City’s next home game is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6, against Skyline. The opening faceoff is set for 6:15 p.m. at Dozier Field.
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