PCHS girls’ lacrosse dominates season opener | ParkRecord.com

PCHS girls’ lacrosse dominates season opener

Miners prepare for weekend tournament in California

Park Citys Courtney Kaufman sets up a play after making a save during the teams State Championship game last season. The defending state champion Miners started 2017 with a 17-2 win over Olympus on Thursday.

The Park City High School girls' lacrosse team walked off the field last season as the Utah High School Lacrosse League champions. Certainly looking the part of a defending state champion, and hungry for more wins, the Miners walked onto the snow-plowed Dozier Field on Thursday evening for the first official game of 2017 against Olympus.

Park City used a balanced scoring attack and controlled much of the game in a 17-2 win over the Olympus Titans, starting the season 1-0. Even with the dominant start, Head Coach Kassandra Lemons knows there's plenty of work to be done.

"We still have a long road ahead of us," Lemons said.

One thing Lemons was particularly happy with from Thursday's season-opening win was the Miners' draw control. Similar to basketball, lacrosse has somewhat of a jump ball after every goal is scored, and according to Lemons, this can make or break a game.

With there being 19 goals scored in this game between the teams, there were plenty of opportunities for Park City to take control.

"That really can determine how your game goes," Lemons said. "That's a lot of draws being taken in one game. I think we won about 17 of the 19 draws. Just fundamentally, those kind of things are really important."

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The reason why Lemons knows there's still a long road ahead is partly due to the Miners' upcoming schedule. On Friday, the team will fly to California to play three games in 30 hours before flying back to Park City on Saturday night. Not only will the stamina and conditioning of the Miners be tested, but the level of competition will undoubtedly be better.

Even so, Lemons is feeling optimistic heading into the tournament.

"I'm confident," Lemons said. "We focus so much on just the little fundamentals. I know they are a little bit nervous heading into the weekend, because we are such a young team. But I think they'll perform well. I'm excited for them to see how good they actually are."

In their three games, the Miners will take on California powerhouse Torrey Pines High School, the 2016 CIF San Diego Section Girls Lacrosse Champions, before clashing with two impressive squads from Texas: Texas' version of Torrey Pines in St. John's High School and Hockaday High School, the No. 4 team in the state. Torrey Pines is the host of the round-robin style of tournament.

The Miners know they can compete with these teams, but they also aren't oblivious to the fact that it will be much harder than the game that transpired on Thursday evening.

"Fundamentally we're there," Lemons said. "We have quite a few Division-1 commits, quite a few kids who could be there if they wanted to. What it comes down to is our mental game."

For some of the older players on the team, this is something they've been through before. Playing in games as big as these, though, can be nerve wracking for the underclassmen.

Luckily for the Miners, Lemons knows a simple remedy to calm nerves.

"We just communicate," Lemons said. "They have to believe in themselves and their teammates. I think we talk about it a lot. We play this game every day. There's nothing really new coming at them."

Park City's first weekend game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. PST against Torrey Pines.