Boys Playoffs: Chargers, Miners Win Semis

Issue 71 - Alta/Westlake Advance in B, PG/Viewmont Advance in C

Good morning lacrosse fans. The championships are set and I can’t wait until Friday & Saturday. You can read about the girls playoffs here. Big thanks to CBreeze Sports for the pictures from the Division A/B games. I’d also encourage you follow the Utah Lax Report on Instagram where our video team has been cranking out reels and highlights.

As always, this newsletter is brought to you by Vessel Kitchen.

Boys Division A

The first Division A semifinal featured the No. 1 Corner Canyon Chargers putting on a clinic against the No. 4 Olympus Titans. After a close first quarter, Corner Canyon sailed to a 17-3 victory to advance to the 2021 UHSAA Boys Division A Championship on Saturday.

Jon King (Corner Canyon)

Corner Canyon Midfielder Blaze DeGracie won the opening faceoff and took it to the cage and scored. Senior attackman Eric Neilson then scored back-to-back goals for Corner Canyon to put the Chargers ahead early. Olympus answered with two goals by Sophomore midfielder Ethan Hartsfield to give the fans hope that an evenly contested game was at hand. Narrator voice: It wasn’t. DeGracie added another for the Chargers to close out the first quarter which set up one of the most dominant quarters of the year for Corner Canyon.

The second quarter saw a little bit of everything from the Charger offense including goals by five different scorers. Neilson opened the scoring on a great feed from Junior midfielder Mason Quick. Senior midfielder Jona Serrell found the back of the net next for the Chargers followed by goals by Neilson, Junior attackman Jon King and Quick. King single-handedly created the next goal when he rode hard and checked the ball out of the stick of an Olympus defender, scooped up the loose ball, then found Neilson wide open on the fast break. Neilson, the veteran, buried it in the back of the net to make the score 10-2. The onslaught wasn’t over as Quick, Sophomore attackman Blake Franckowiak, DeGracie and Quick scored for Corner Canyon to close out a 10-0 second quarter, making the halftime score 14-2.

The second half was much slower with the game in hand for the Chargers. King and Franckowiak added goals in the third quarter. Junior midfielder Camden Rossi scored in the fourth quarter for the Titans but was answered on a goal by Sophomore attackman Porter Wells for the Chargers, bringing the final score to 17-3.

“Blaze DeGracie made a statement from the opening face,” said Corner Canyon Head Coach Aaron Ika. “He was dominant on offense, defense, and facing off. Trace White did what he has done all year and shut down the best attackman on the other team. On offense, the boys came to play and shared the rock for some beautiful plays. The boys know the mantra, “You are either selfless or selfish”. They knew Olympus would be well-coached and they had to play team ball to get the win. Proud of these boys and happy to send the seniors to their graduation that started during the game with the ‘W’.”

Corner Canyon Goalie Ayden Santi was a brick wall in the cage, staying on par with his 0.712% save rate.

Dillon Bush (Park City)

In the second semifinal, No. 2 Park City beat No. 14 Brighton, 13-7.

Park City Senior attackman Connor Monson opened the scoring midway through the first quarter and was followed by a goal by Senior midfielder Lucas Hoeksema who tallied just his fifth goal of the year. Monson added another one to make the score 3-0 after the first quarter.

Miner attackman Mason Kohn added a goal for Park City to begin the second quarter but Brighton fought back with goals by Senior midfielders Walker Harris and Carter Budge. Dillon Bush and Monson responded for the Miners making the score 6-2 at halftime.

The Bengals came out of the break and reeled off three straight goals. Budge and Harris both tallied one and were joined by Senior midfielder Aiden Bruce which was his eighth goal of the year, bringing the Bengals within one. Monson scored next on an assist from Senior attackman Tyler Vendetti. Scott Hansen scored for Brighton when he intercepted a clearing pass from the wing and buried it in the back of the net, giving the Brighton faithful hope of a comeback. Budge stoked the fire less then a minute later when he scored and tied the game at 7 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

The Miners took the tied ball game to heart and scored 6 unanswered goals to finish the game with a 13-7 score.

“Brighton put up a great fight,” said Park City Head Coach Michael Persky. “They came into the game with a lot of momentum and they did a great job of slowing down  our set offense for the better part of three quarters. I give a lot of credit to the Brighton kids and their coaching staff. Our defense did a great job of staying composed, keeping us in the game and late in the game they shut down Brighton after their run including killing a 2-minute nonreleasable penalty. Jude Trahan did a great job at the faceoff x in the second half and gave us some key possessions. The offense woke up in the second half and we were able to close out the game. I give a lot of credit to our boys. Bo Hawthorne gave us another solid performance in net. Jake Podmilsak, Keller Hopkins and Canyon Smith did a nice job at close, and we got two key goals from our SSDMs Lucas Hoeksema and Riley Finlayson and JP Jones was great at LSM. All that is behind us now and tomorrow we start prepping for Corner Canyon.  They are clearly a juggernaut and we are going to have to put our best game together if we want to compete with them. But right now, we are exactly where we want to be, and where our boys deserve to be: playing for state championship.”

The 2021 UHSAA Boys Division A Championship will begin at 4:00 p.m. (I’ve also seen it listed at 4:30 p.m., working to confirm the time) at Layton High School on Saturday, May 29. Corner Canyon will return to the finals for the first time since winning the 2015 UHSLL Class A title in a 9-8 win over Park City. The Chargers also played in the 2014 UHSLL title game, losing to Brighton, 12-10. The Miners won the UHSLL Class A championships in 2019 and 2018 which were both one-goal wins over Brighton. Park City also won the ULA D-I Championship in 2014.

Boys Division B

No. 4 Alta beat No. 1 Weber, 13-10.

Rogan Babka (Alta)

“We had a big game from Aiden Swanson on faceoffs,” said Alta Head Coach Brandon Horoba. “He really sparked us. On offense, Mason Egan led with 4 goals but our offense was moving the ball well and sharing it. Rogan Babka had another good game initiating for us. Defensively we played the way we have all year stingy and hard working. This was a fun game credit to Weber and then fighting back. We were excited to get the win and look forward to playing in the championship against Westlake. The Seniors have gone from winning 3 games as Freshman on varsity to the chance at a championship. We are excited and it felt good being back on that stage.”

No. 7 Westlake beat No. 6 Bountiful, 11-6.

Paxton Schramm (Westlake)

“What a game,” said Westlake Head Coach Danny Horne. “First: credit to Bountiful!  They are another fierce, tenacious team who is very well-coached. Those boys fought like lions going up on us 3-1 in a short time of offensive possessions. Our offense got off to a slow start but they slowly got into a groove and started doing some of the things we have implemented in practices. Our defense was incredible. Too often defenses get overlooked for their significant contributions to the outcomes and the game last night was no different. Our D held a talented O, who was averaging 11 goals per game, to just 6 goals. Our goalie again stood on his head making incredible saves and preserving this win for us. This was also a very emotional game for us as the day prior we learned that one of our classmates was killed in a tragic car accident. A senseless one. The boys played for Ammon. And on Saturday, they will play for Ammon again. We will honor him with our play."

The 2021 UHSAA Division B Championship will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday at Layton High School. Alta last played in a championship game in 2012 when it lost to Juan Diego, 9-8, in the ULA D-I title tilt. The Hawks won the 2007 ULA Class A championship, beating Judge, 9-6. In 2002, Alta beat Judge once again for the championship, 9-8, in double-overtime. Alta Head Coach Brandon Horoba won four championships with Brighton: three as a head coach and one as an assistant. Westlake won the 2016 UHSLL Class C title against Lehi, 5-4, in overtime.

Boys Division C

No. 1 Pleasant Grove beat No. 4 Syracuse, 22-6.

“We felt like this was a solid win against a team that could give us some heartburn,” said Pleasant Grove Head Coach Brae Burbidge. “Brigham Burbidge came out in the first quarter with six goals along with James Livingston‘s two goals and Lane Berg‘s goal that threw us up pretty fast. Evan Robinson dominated the faceoff, he was a machine. After that first quarter Brigham, Lane, James, and Luke Smith dominated the offense. However, our defense shined just as bright, with Kolton Bayles and Christian Nichols Working overtime to control the Syracuse stars in Tate Craig and Clay Haacke, both stud players and a huge concern to us. We also had a stand out performance from our goalie as well as our defensive midfielders. The team played well but I made some mistakes on coaching and personnel that I need to fix for the final.”

No. 11 Viewmont beat No. 2 Bear River, 8-1.

“I’m really proud of the boys, it’s been a pleasure watching them grow and come together as a team,” said Viewmont Head Coach Don Stringham. “We were off to a rough start; we had a young, inexperienced team with only one senior who had previous lacrosse experience. We played great teams during the season from who we learned a lot from. It feels surreal to be going to the championship game. It’s really rewarding seeing the boys believe in themselves and their teammates.” 

After losing the regular-season matchup, 10-6, Viewmont came out and took control of the game for the win.

The 2021 UHSAA Division C Championship will begin at Noon on Saturday at Layton High School. The only championship appearance for Pleasant Grove was in 2019 when it lost to Herriman, 12-10, in the UHSLL Class B championship. This will be the first championship game for Viewmont.

Don’t forget to check out your brackets!

Boys Bracket Challenge

Girls Bracket Challenge

Bracket Links

The games will be streamed on kslsports.com but I’d also ask you to show up on Friday/Saturday to support those playing and show the state we can fill a stadium!

— Tim Haslam