PCHS boys’ LAX shows improvement in big win
After a couple of lackluster efforts in recent games, the Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team took to Dozier Field on Wednesday night to prove that it is still a state championship contender.
Squaring off against Skyline, the Miners did just that, controlling the game from the opening faceoff and cruising to a 14-4 victory.
Park City Offensive Coordinator Phil Dobson said Wednesday’s effort was more in line with what the coaching staff expects.
"We definitely focused this week in practice on just being looser and just going out there to play and get back to the Park City lacrosse we’ve played in the past," he said. "It was a good effort by our kids. They came out ready to play — all the credit to them."
Zack Danninger led the way for the Miners, turning in a huge offensive performance that included three goals and four assists. Aiden Christensen and Ryan Smith each added two goals and an assist, Beau Pederson and Jackson Burton both scored twice and Carlos Kinder, Griffin Seifert and Eli Levine all scored once.
The Miners put 16 total shots on the Skyline goal, scoring 14 times. When shots missed the net, players were in position to back up the shot and regain possession for Park City, something the team didn’t do very well last week.
"That’s something we harped on in practice — shortening up the passes and working the ball around," Dobson said. "We were taking care of each other and being better teammates and it all worked out for the best."
In the midfield, Dobson said Park City was quick and efficient, getting the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end effectively.
"Our clearing was spectacular, actually," he said. "Our [midfielders] did a great job tracking back to the ball and were where they needed to be. Everyone got to their spots and delivered."
Park City goalie Sheridan Buchholz only faced 11 shots on Wednesday, saving seven. Defensive Coordinator Carl Runge said the key to the Miners’ success was forcing Skyline to take shots from longer distances.
"It’s nice to see less of the close shots on the crease," he said. "The defense did a nice job keeping the crease shots out of [Buchholz’s] face. The defense played really well within their system and Josh Hales did a fantastic job guarding [Skyline’s] No. 12 — he’s a very good player."
On Friday, with several starters absent due to spring break, the Park City coaches were hoping for the remaining players to step up and earn more playing time. Though it didn’t happen on Friday, Dobson said those same players showed their abilities on Wednesday.
"Although the stats don’t show it, I think Parker [Burnham] played a great game down low," he said. "He did exactly what he needed to do. Rhino — Ryan Smith — did a great job at attack. People are starting to step up and that’s what we need at this time in the season. We’re really proud of the team and it kind of feels like we’ve got our swagger back."
Park City (5-1 overall) faces a tough test this weekend with a pair of games against teams from Nevada at a tournament at Juan Diego High School. The Miners take on Palo Verde on Saturday and Coronado Red on Sunday.
Runge said those games will be difficult, but added that it was nice to see the Miners play well in the game leading up to the tournament.
"We definitely needed a confidence booster," he said. "The last few games have been a little chippy and this was a smoother game. It definitely helps, but we’ll have to have good practices the rest of the week as well."
After the two games this weekend, the Miners have four more road games before they return home. The next home game on the schedule is set for Friday, April 29, against Olympus. That game will take place at the Quinn’s Junction fields at 5:30 p.m.
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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.