Sports Should Be Fun, BYU & Utah Club Win RMLC Titles, WCLA Tournament Preview
Issue 89 - New teams enter coaches polls and more!
Good morning lacrosse fans! Thank you for taking time out of your day for the Utah Lax Report.
As a reminder, the fine folks at Tribal West are offering 10% off your online order using the code TRIBAL2022 on tribalwest.com. You can order online and pick it up in-store!
Armchair Lacrosse Coach: Sports Should Be Fun
As has been said many times before, sports, especially competitive team sports, is one of the truly great educational environments. Practically everything is engaged. The components of physical fitness, left and right brain thinking and emotional management to name a few. A high impact, low consequence environment of the highest order where so many life lessons can be learned through success, failure and everything in between. Plus, playing sports is fun! Until it's not.
The old story goes like this: 4 kids are standing around a ball. What happens? They play. They make up games. They throw, kick, dribble, shoot, tag, run, score. The games they play will likely become competitive. There will be winners and losers and it will probably escalate from there. Great fun! What happens when you have 4 kids, a ball and a coach? The environment usually changes. More standing, listening and drilling. Some would call this organization. There are plenty of arguments to be had about the pros and cons of organization. However, I’m not going to argue for or against it. I want to discuss one of the byproducts of organization in this context - leadership. The coach is there to lead and provide guided exploration.
Leadership in the first environment above emerges organically. There is a person willing to do the higher-order thinking and create organization for a variety of reasons. Most of the time this is a person who has earned the respect of the group. In scenario two, the leadership is anointed by a higher power. A generic authority figure with a lot of power regardless of if it was earned or not. This power structure can oftentimes lead to two extremes.
Extreme 1 (top) is an example of a leader that earns trust, models the behavior and helps to organize an overall positive environment. They lead with WHY and purpose. This coach is vulnerable, compassionate and human. This coach leads with love. Extreme 2 (bottom) on the other hand is something toxic. Likely rife with hypocrisy, resentment and an overall environment of negativity. This leader refers to the program or team as HIS or MINE. Now, I have nothing against Coach Knight and I don’t know him personally but I feel comfortable using the visual above as an example of what it looks like when an environment like Extreme 2 finally boils over. Adults in positions of leadership modeling behaviors that would never be tolerated in any capacity if it were a student-athlete throwing a tantrum like this. In fact, the first person to discipline the student-athlete is the adult/leader/coach that probably modeled the behavior too many times to count. Behavior that was very likely never addressed, as to say, behavior like this is to be tolerated. In some cases, even celebrated like in the case of Coach Knight. What a character, right!?!? I’d say wrong.
I was recently at a high school lacrosse game for the JV and Varsity portions of the evening’s contest between two sanctioned Utah programs. I witnessed the adult/coaches/leaders of one of the programs behaving in a way that we should all consider unacceptable. I hesitate to use the word program considering the toxicity permeating the sideline but it encompassed the whole thing. If a program is about culture, this is the culture. There were adults berating children, throwing tantrums and making threats. “I can’t wait till Monday because you are all going to puke! Bring your buckets because every one of you is going to puke,” he said. This was how a competitive hustle-filled game, played by young people obviously new to the sport, was closed out on the sidelines in the last 20 seconds. You can probably imagine how the rest of the game was coached on that sideline. But then again, maybe you/we can’t. No one batted an eye. It seemed normal. The parents, who were in the stands, right there. Watching, listening, cheering. The kids. Dragging, demoralized but even worse probably desensitized to the whole thing because I assume this kind of behavior is a regular occurrence.
A coach I look up to and have followed for a long time recommends that every youth coach (which includes high school) ask themselves this question: If practice wasn’t mandatory, would they still come? I have a question of my own: What about a practice where you get to bring your very own puke bucket? Exciting right!?! The correlation between vomit and improvement has long been celebrated by all the great master motivators of the modern age. Taking the lessons learned from the game and working to improve on the areas of deficiency will probably take place after the vomiting. Then again, maybe before. I don’t know. Every great leader/coach/adult has to figure that formula out for themselves…
I could definitely pile on and keep describing what I saw and heard. Go full high horse on this thing. But guess what, I didn’t say anything either. So who am I to judge? I can say this though, leadership is about service. Serving those whom you lead and doing your best to get them what they need and where they need to be to have success. It’s not about power or hierarchy or puke buckets. A real leader would never ask his or her team to do anything they are not willing to do themselves, period. Leaders don’t watch or prescribe. If it’s important and necessary, real leaders are the first to grab a bucket and say follow me!
Remember everyone is watching. We can all be better. First to serve. Last to be served. - BL
Boys High School
Matt Duke-Rosati and I recorded a bracketology show and published it on Instagram:
It’s already out of date (because the positions change each day) but it was fun to record and talk about potential matchups. We’ll hopefully do more of these as we progress through the season.
As always, our polls are brought to you by Salty Lacrosse.
No. 1 Corner Canyon - The Chargers dismantled No. 3 American Fork, 17-3, on Tuesday and Pleasant Grove, 24-1, on Friday. The Chargers will face Westlake on Tuesday and No. 6 Lone Peak on Thursday. The Corner Canyon defense has allowed just 13 goals in 6 region games. If you could have either the Corner Canyon offense or the Corner Canyon defense, which one are you picking?
No. 2 Olympus - Speaking of defense, how about the Titan defense that has allowed no more than 6 goals in any game. They gave up 6 to Westlake in the first game of the year, 6 to Alta and 6 to Bountiful. The Titans beat the Redhawks on Monday, 15-6, and Waterford on Thursday, 19-1. Olympus will host Bingham on Tuesday, head to East on Friday then play the rescheduled game against No. 7 Mountain Ridge on Saturday. If you’re a fan of lacrosse, you’ll join me in circling May 4 on the calendar which is when the Titans will welcome No. 4 Park City to town. This game is not only a potential 5A championship preview but the winner will also likely win the Region 6 title.
No. 3 American Fork - The Cavemen lost to No. 1 Corner Canyon on Tuesday, 17-3, then beat No. 6 Lone Peak, 11-8, on Thursday. Dane Stewart and I featured this game on Game Night Live. You can watch it here. On a side note, this is one of the first times I remember seeing a high school mascot on the sidelines at a game. Who else has done this? On Saturday, American Fork traveled to Skyline and walked away with a 15-5 win over the Eagles. The Cavemen will host Pleasant Grove on Tuesday then channel their inner baseball traits and play Skyridge in back-to-back games on Thursday and Saturday.
No. 4 Park City - The Miners beat No. 8 Alta, 20-8, on Friday. Park City begins region play this week as it hosts Highland on Wednesday and travels to Brighton on Friday. See above for the May 4 showdown against Olympus.
No. 5 Davis - The Darts beat Fremont, 16-15, on Tuesday in another 1-goal game between the two teams in what is becoming/has become/already was a great rivalry. In fact, the last two games between the two teams both finished with a 16-15 scoreline. The last game in 2021 finished 15-14. Davis then beat Farmington, 13-8, on Thursday and is in pole position to win the Region 1 crown. Layton and Clearfield await the Darts this week.
No. 6 Lone Peak - A 10-6 win over Westlake on Tuesday and an 11-8 loss to No. 3 American Fork on Thursday summed up the Knights week. A Tuesday showdown with Skyridge and then hosting No. 1 Corner Canyon on Thursday will highlight this week.
No. 7 Mountain Ridge - The Sentinels haven’t played since April 14 as they face Copper Hills on Tuesday and West on Thursday then No. 2 Olympus on Saturday.
No. 8 Alta - The pollsters were not sympathetic to the Hawks 20-8 loss to No. 4 Park City as it moved Alta down three spots. A 21-0 win over Mountain View on Tuesday didn’t help Alta either. Alta will look to regain favor on Tuesday in a key region game against Timpview. If Alta wins, they will be in a great spot to win the region outright. If Timpview wins, the two teams would likely share the trophy. Alta also hosts Jordan on Thursday.
No. 9 Fremont - The Silverwolves lost to No. 5 Davis, 16-15, on Tuesday (see above) and beat Layton on Thursday, 24-4. Back-to-back games lay in store for the Silverwolves this week as it hosts Syracuse on Thursday and travels to Weber on Friday.
No. 10 Bountiful - Bountiful lost to No. 2 Olympus on Monday, 15-6, then beat region foes Bonneville, 18-3, and Viewmont, 17-6. Only region games remain for the Redhawks who will face Woods Cross and Northridge this week.
Other games of note: Orem beat Timpanogos on Tuesday, 8-7, in double overtime. UMA picked up its first win in program history with a 7-6 win over Jordan in overtime.
Also, the 2025 801 Tribe team is having tryouts this Saturday for their summer team. If you’re interested, please contact Andy Schuman - email@example.com
Girls High School
The Top 7 teams are staying steady! With not a lot of movement for these 7 teams it put us all in a thought to who will secure spots No. 8, No .9 and No. 10. These past few weeks we've had Herriman, Riverton and Alta come and go. West Jordan has found themselves moving up 2 spots as Davis has dropped 2 spots. Once more we see Bear River making their way back onto the coaches poll.
No.1 Park City has some serious heart, dedication and repetition this season! Park City has not allowed any team to score more than 4 goals on them. Their closest game thus far is against Mountain Ridge ending that game with a win of 13-4. The team holds strong with their top scorer, Junior Lilly Hunt. Ultimately helping Park City have 144 goals and only 21 goals against.
No. 2 Skyridge players have very high lacrosse IQs. With their strategic plays against Olympus, Skyridge is bound to enter their next game against No. 6 Lone peak with a great game plan. At the helm of Skyridge is Haven Buechner with 42 points. One of the fun things to watch with Skyridge is not just their games but the sisterly competition on the field between the Buechner sisters (Haven and River); they continue to challenge one another with their stats.
No. 3 Brighton is the definition of team spirit. Nearly every game Coach Nash has a theme to their games. This week's game was a honky-tonk throwdown against Alta. Saddle up your horse because Brighton is out to have fun and play a talented game of lacrosse. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us next.
No. 4 Olympus had me questionin their level of play with their first few games not being super competitive. This week really showed the tenacity of Olympus, with their 1 goal loss to Skyridge. Between 5 games these players have scored 90 goals with 19 of those goals coming from Sophomore Hazel Baker.
No. 5 Mountain Ridge is a silent but deadly team. Their team is talented and humble, but little do you know that Mountain Ridge is a huge force to be reckoned with. Morgan Mackey is one of the sweetest players you’ll meet on the field but don't mistake her kindness for her lack of aggressiveness and competitiveness with her sitting on 38 goals for the season.
No. 6 Lone Peak had some exciting news come out, Head Coach Weslie Lundell is expecting baby No. 2! Lone Peak took on Corner Canyon and American Fork, both of which they brought home the wins.
No. 7 Corner Canyon is known to never step down from a fight. Through and through Corner Canyon has been tested, but they always come back more skillful and aggressive. The leader of the pack is Simone Parker with her beautiful hair and her striking skills. She comes in hot with 45 goals this season.
No. 8 West Jordan had their second game against Mountain Ridge this season. West Jordan gave Mountain Ridge a run for their money. With the game ending 12-12 they went into double overtime! The team fell short by 1 goal to Mountain Ridge. This team doesn't have much to be upset about because they played a well fought game.
No. 9 Bear River is a truly strong team but has yet to play any of the top 10 coaches poll teams. Bear River has only region games left. With a win over Mountain Crest and Green Canyon I project them having a 16-0 season. As of right now based on stats, wins and loses, Ridgeline is their biggest remaining competition.
No. 10 Davis is a strong competitor for North of Salt Lake. Davis has a stacked set of Seniors that are a large contributor to their great wins. But let's talk about the elephant in the room. Davis beat Fremont earlier this season 11-9. This week Fremont stepped up their game and defeated Davis by 2 goals.
Lone Peak vs Corner Canyon - Lone Peak welcomed Corner Canyon to their field for a high intensity game! Lone Peak stepped onto their home turf prepared for a battle, walking away with a 16-13 win. “You're not always given second chances,” said Lone Peak Head Coach Weslie Lundell. “But when you are, it's important to be on top of your A-game from start to finish so you can acquire the results you are hoping for.” Lone Peak nominated Maddie Potvin as their MVP of this game. Maddie is a key player for the Lone Peak team. She’s tough, never gives up, and is always in the right spot at the right time. “Lone peak played well and took advantage of our mistakes,” said the amazing Corner Canyon Head Coach Matt Kenning. Corner Canyon nominates Simone Parker as their MVP player of this game. Simone kept the team held together throughout their battle against Lone Peak, and showed her talented skills on the field.
Skyridge vs Olympus - Skyridge stomped on Olympus’s field battling not just the other players on Olympus’s team, but the fundamentals of the game as well. Skyridge ultimately won 15-14, the win came from a stunning goal seconds before the ending buzzer. Although they struggled with ground balls and draw control the Skyridge players never gave up on their fight. The Skyridge players devoted their hearts into this game and were scrappy with their moves. “So proud of their determination to keep fighting against one of the best teams in the state,” said Coach Gill. “I mean when your coaches and sideline cheer as much as you guys did our only option is to win,” said Captain Brooklyn Gibson. Turning the field over to Olympus as mentioned their draws were outstanding, ultimately keeping them very strong in the game. Olympus played a very well fought game, they saw their flaws on their defensive end and they intend to grow that weakness into a strength. Olympus nominates Hazel Baker as their MVP of the game. “Hazel deserved the game ball/MVP for so many reasons. This girl puts in so much effort in and out of practice, and as coaches we felt like it was really showcased in this game. Hazel scored 4 goals and had 2 assists, as well as racking up stats all over the field. Even though we lost, my favorite moment was watching her give the assist that tied up the game with 9 seconds left. She trusted her teammate and showed stellar sportsmanship,” said Coach Spratling.
Corner Canyon vs American Fork and Lone Peak vs American Fork - I put these two games together not just because American Fork played both teams, but because both Corner Canyon and Lone Peak had amazing teamwork. Corner Canyon defeated American Fork, 21-5. Corner Canyon put their team to work to build their skills across the field. Corner Canyon players had great trust in transitions and gave 10 different players the opportunity to score. Within those great transitions from Corner Canyon players it started with Marissa Parker, her first time stepping onto varsity and winning 4 out of the 5 draws she took. For that reason alone Marissa Parker was chosen by her team to be the MVP of this game. As Lone Peak pushed through exhaustion from their multiple games this week they learned to utilize their teammates as a structure in a strong and competitive game against American Fork, With that team unity they won, 10-6. Lone Peak nominates Natalie Aceves as their MVP of this game. She had insane defensive skills from reoffending, rides and creating numerous turnovers. “We’re here to have fun! The girls are thriving in their elements right now and everyday they play is a blessing. We’re excited for another 3-game week next week,” said Coach Lundell.
BYU hosted the RMLC tournament this weekend which crowned BYU as the D-I champion and the Utah club team as the D-II champion. Both teams locked in their spots to the MCLA tournament in May. BYU beat Colorado State, 16-7, in the semis then beat Colorado, 15-4, in the championship game. The Utah club team beat Utah State, 9-8, in the semis then beat Montana State, 15-8, in the final game. The RMLC All-Conference players were also selected, you can see the full list here. UVU and Utah State will rely on at-large bids to take the trip to the MCLA National Tournament.
In the NCAA, Utah beat Bellarmine, 12-11, and will host Detroit Mercy on Saturday at 1 pm. The Utes will then play in the ASUN conference tournament beginning on May 5 in Huntsville, Alabama.
Westminster beat Adams State on Friday, 22-3, and CSU-Pueblo on Sunday, 20-13. The Griffins will host Colorado Mesa on Saturday at 11 am.
I’m not sure there is anything much better than two NCAA games back-to-back just 4 miles apart. I’ve even mapped the directions for you so no excuses! Unless, of course, you’re at a youth game but that’s probably another topic for another time since we’re nearing the end of this issue.
Remaining College Schedule
4/30 - Colorado Mesa @ Westminster - 11 am
4/30 - Robert Morris @ Utah - 1 pm
5/5 & 5/7 - ASUN Tournament - Huntsville, Alabama (Utah)
5/6 - RMAC Tournament @ TBA (Westminster)
5/9 - MCLA Tournament First Round @ Round Rock, TX (Teams TBD)
The Women’s Skyfire team is looking for post-high school players to play in Vail, June 30 - July 4. If you’re interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCLA National Tournament
If you have been keeping up with us on Utah Women's Lacrosse you would find no surprise in Utah Valley being the No. 1 seed in the WCLA D-II rankings. This is the first time in Utah Valley history to be No 1 ranked. Utah Valley will be traveling to Round Rock, Texas to compete in the National Tournament on May 4-7. Utah Valley dominated this season with 11 wins and only 1 loss against WCLA D-I BYU.
Furthermore in WCLA D-I, Brigham Young University is ranked No. 7 in the Nation and University of Utah follows close behind with seed No. 8. BYU has had 10 wins and 3 loses this season. Utah has 8 wins and 3 loses. We all aren’t able to make the trip to Texas to watch Utah Valley, Brigham Young University and University of Utah but it will be streamed for FREE. Follow USA Lacrosse for further details.
In the NCAA ranks, Westminster spent this past week traveling through Colorado. The Griffins started their trip with a win against Fort Lewis College, 19-18. However, the fun was followed by a big loss to Colorado Mesa University, 20-1. Then the Griffins ended the trip a few goals short of a win against Colorado State University Pueblo, 19-15.
Next up for Westminster is hosting RMAC No. 1 seed Regis University to Dumke Field Thursday night at 7:00 pm
That’s it for this week, stay safe out there and see you on the sidelines!
— Tim Haslam (Intro/Mens/Boys), Kenzie Christiansen (Womens/Girls) & Brad Lavoie (Armchair Lacrosse Coach)