PCHS boys’ LAX earns much-needed victory
After a rough home loss last Wednesday, the Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team hopes the old adage "slow and steady wins the race" proves to be true.
The Miners were sloppy and undisciplined in Wednesday’s 13-7 loss to Corner Canyon, the defending state champions. They returned to the field Friday evening at Quinn’s Junction to host Waterford, showing slight signs of improvement in a 6-2 victory.
Park City Coach Nick Gradinger said the Miners were better in some areas of the game, but he still wasn’t happy with the overall showing.
"We were missing six starters today, but that’s not the reason we were putting that product on the field," he said. "We’re just not a very good lacrosse team right now. We’re really trying to find ourselves. I think the coaching staff is a little disappointed in how we responded after Wednesday night’s loss and we were hoping we’d get a little more energy."
Any time a team holds an opponent to two goals, though, something is going right. Gradinger said the defensive unit played better on Friday.
"We really got on them in film [on Thursday]," he said. "[Wednesday] was the worst I’ve seen them in three years and we just weren’t playing cohesively as a team. The defensive end certainly had a greater sense of urgency to communicate and play together and play more compact [on Friday]. That was definitely a nice thing to take away from this game."
Offensively, several players got more minutes on the field than they normally get due to absences. That led to some mixed results, Gradinger said.
"We were excited to see some guys step into leadership roles and have some guys rise to the occasion," he said. "I think we saw a little bit of that, but we were disappointed with the guys who were left over — the remaining upperclassmen. We were looking for them to step into a bigger leadership role with two of our key offensive guys out of the picture. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that.
"Kudos to Waterford for how they confined our offense all game long. That team is pretty disciplined and they kept us in check."
Gator Olsen, Jackson Burton, Ryan Smith, Zack Danninger, Parker Burnham and Bobby Records each scored a goal for Park City. Aiden Christensen had all three of the Miners’ assists. Goalie Sheridan Buchholz faced four shots by the Waterford offense and saved three. Connor French replaced Buchholz in the fourth quarter and faced two shots, saving one.
The Miners put 19 shots on the Waterford goal, but Gradinger said they could have had more scoring opportunities if they were more fundamentally sound.
"We didn’t back up the cage eight times today," he said. "That’s an inexcusable mistake that you would get on a fifth grader for making, let alone a team that’s trying to win a state championship."
Park City High School’s spring break is this week, so the Miners will continue to have starters missing. It comes at an inopportune time, as Park City faces three tough games.
"We have a really good Skyline team we’re playing on Wednesday and we have a phenomenal slate of games this weekend with two really talented teams coming in from Nevada [for a tournament at Juan Diego]," Gradinger said. "They’re going to be hungry to beat us and we’re going to be short starters again. All you can do is try to rise above it.
"We’re going to be facing teams that move the ball even better than we saw on Wednesday and it’s just going to be about guys working together and communicating together. We preach communication over everything else. That’s going to be the key for us to be successful."
Park City (9-3 overall) is scheduled to host Skyline on Wednesday night at Dozier Field. The opening faceoff is set for 6:15 p.m.
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Park City, South Summit and North Summit continue to shine on the court while their respective girls tennis and soccer seasons have all come to an end.