PCHS boys’ LAX team looks to repeat
Last year, the Park City High School boys’ lacrosse team’s season ended with a state championship game victory on Dozier Field, a 16-4 rout against Herriman.
But, among the seniors who graduated from last year’s squad, four unique talents won’t be returning to the field for the Miners — Carson Dutkanych, Christian Pompoco, Colton Kissell and Noah Pranschke.
Park City Coach Andy Langendorf said the Miners are going to need several younger kids to step up and fill the big shoes left by last year’s seniors.
"The four standout seniors we lost, I’m not even going to try to replace those guys," he said. "We have to change some of our on-field strategy. We have a lot of talent left, but you don’t replace guys like that."
That said, Langendorf added that the Miners still have plenty of reason to believe they can make another deep playoff run and compete for a state title this year. If the team adjusts to a slightly different style of play, focusing more on ball movement and working as a cohesive unit, the sky is the limit.
"Some of the strengths I think we have is we have a lot of guys with elevated stick skills," he said. "They have a good understanding of the game. We’ll move the ball quickly and try to get teams unbalanced. This year, we have to play in a more diverse way and move quickly to create opportunities."
Face-off specialist Jackson Burton, who is one of the best in the state, returns to the squad this year and will play a crucial role in helping the Miners get quickly into their offense. But, though Burton is a very talented FOS, Langendorf said the Miners are loaded at that position.
"We’re excited to have Jackson at the top," he said. "But we picked up Zack Danninger out of Alta who’s a great face-off guy, too. Then we have freshman Eli Levine and [Justin] Pickard. I have the luxury of having four great face-off guys in my bag."
The Miners will start the year without their top goalkeeper, Sheridan Buchholz, who is recovering from a serious injury.
"He’s not traveling with us to Las Vegas [this weekend]," Langendorf said. "It looks like I won’t see him for another six weeks. We have Ian Sime in between the pipes right now. We also have Connor French, a freshman. He has all the skills to be a great goaltender — he’s a great talent."
With many moving parts on the attacking end, the injury to Buchholz and the deep roster at FOS, Langendorf is hoping to use this weekend’s Best of the West tournament in Las Vegas as a way to see how new players fit in with the team and how returning players respond to new roles.
"This year, we have a really tough schedule in Vegas," he said. "We play a full game on Friday night when we get there and then four games on Saturday. The weather is looking like it’s going to be a challenge as well. But it’s always good to get on the field. We carry a pretty big roster down there. We don’t go in with the intention of winning, though winning is always nice — we just want to evaluate players."
When the Miners return from Vegas, they’ll hop right into their regular-season schedule. On Monday, March 6, they host Bonneville at Dozier Field. This year’s schedule promises to be even more challenging than in previous years, Langendorf said.
"Corner Canyon is going to be good, for sure," he said. "Then you have all the usual suspects. Brighton is going to be good and I think Skyline is going to be a big surprise. And you can never count Juan Diego or Alta out. Every game, you’re going to have to bring your ‘A’ game or you’re going to lose."
Though it’ll be a tougher schedule, Langendorf said he still has the same expectations he has of every Park City team.
"I set my expectations the same every year — I want to get to the final four," he said. "Once you get there, everybody’s good and you just have to put it together for 60 minutes. But I always feel we’re successful if we get to that final four."
Park City’s journey to repeat as state champions begins on March 6, when the Miners host Bonneville at Dozier Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Park City Boys’ LAX Schedule
Feb. 27-March 1 — Best of the West Tournament — Las Vegas
March 6 — vs. Bonneville — Dozier Field
March 9 — at Sky View — North Logan
March 20-22 — Boise Invitational — Boise
March 27 — vs. Lone Peak — Quinn’s Junction
March 30 — at Bingham — South Jordan
April 1 — vs. Corner Canyon — Quinn’s Junction
April 8 — vs. Davis — Quinn’s Junction
April 11 — at Coronado Red (Nevada) — Draper
April 12 — at Palo Verde (Nevada) — Draper
April 15 — vs. Pleasant Grove — Quinn’s Junction
April 17 — vs. Juan Diego — Quinn’s Junction
April 22 — at Skyline — Salt Lake City
April 24 — at Waterford — Sandy
April 27 — vs. Jordan — Quinn’s Junction
May 1 — vs. Brighton — Dozier Field
May 6 — Playoffs begin — TBD
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