For Immediate Release – Utah Lacrosse Association
6/10/2013 – After 8 weeks of some serious lacrosse action the ULA Junior and Thunder seasons have come to an end. The playoffs were intense and the All Star games were a lot of fun to watch at both levels. Normally I don’t cover the Thunder League, but after watching the battles this year, I felt it was a must.
Junior D-I Championship
Park City 8 Juan Diego 6
The top 6 teams qualified for the playoffs this year. Juan Diego finished the season undefeated and as the #1 seed, followed by Brighton (#2), Park City (#3), Olympus (#4), Herriman (#5), and Bonneville (#6). In the first round Park City defeated Bonneville 15-3, and Olympus bounced Herriman 12-5. In the semi-finals Park City finally solved the Brighton mystique winning 14-11 in their third meeting of the year, and Juan Diego had to come from behind to defeat Olympus 11-8 to earn a spot in the Championship game.
Park City opened the scoring with a goal by Justin “JJ” Pickard only to have Juan Diego answer right back by Chantz Hower. The teams would go back and forth with goals by PC Will Harrigan (assist Beau Pederson), JD Hower, PC Will McNamara (assist Pederson), and JD Ryan Baker. With the score tied at 3, Park City would score 4 of the 5 goals before the half to take a 7-4 lead. PC Matt O’Brien (assist McNamara), PC Matt Whipple (assist Harrigan), JD Baker, PC Pickard, and PC Ryan “Rhino” Smith (assist Pederson). Park City held a huge shot advantage in the first half but Juan Diego goalie Brendan Roberts came up big with 9 saves (15 for the game) to keep his team in the game. In the second half of the game PC opened the scoring with another goal by the converted defenseman Harrigan and then decided to slow the game down on offense. Juan Diego would get the final goal of the 3rd quarter by Shane Hertgen (assist Cole Owens) to go into the final period down by 3. In the 4th the Park City defense took over as the offense looked to stall. Goalie Conner French made several point blank saves in the quarter (5 in the 2nd half, 6 saves total) and his defense did the rest. Josh Hales was easily the best player on the field all day and he got big support from fellow defensemen Noah Meyer and Duncan Halsey. Sam Burbank scored the final goal of the game for JD but it was too little too late as Park City earned their 1st DI Junior Championship (2nd overall) as the clock hit 0:00.
I caught up with the winning team and received the following quotes after the game.
PC Head Coach Mike Acee “Congratulations to the Juan Diego Junior boys for a very good season and a hard fought Championship game. Thank you to James Meyer, Jerry French, the PCYLO board, and all the families involved, for their contributions to our Championship run. I’m very proud of our boys.”
PC Assistant Coach James Meyer “Having coached many of these players since they were in the first and second grade, I could not be more proud. Their dedication and perseverance are remarkable. We lost to both Brighton and Juan Diego, earlier this year and the boys came up with the theme “Revenge Tour 2013”. We played our best lacrosse in the final two games. We couldn’t be more proud of who they are as lacrosse players but more importantly as young men.”
Junior D-II Championship
Roy 5 Jordan 4 – Double Overtime
Jordan was the only team to finish the season unblemished and took the #1 seed, followed by Roy (#2), Brighton (#3), Olympus (#4), Skyline (#5), and in a 3 way tie that had to the goals allowed tie-breaker Northridge was the #6 by 1 goal. In the first round Brighton defeated Northridge 6-3, and Skyline upset Olympus 7-6. In the semi-finals Jordan ended Skyline’s run 9-3, and Roy took out Brighton 10-2 to set up a #1 vs #2 matchup.
This game was a real back and forth contest as no team ever held more than a 2 goal lead. The scoring did not begin until the 2nd quarter, as Roy got on the board first with a goal from Boo Bustos. Jordan evened the score at 1-1 before halftime on a goal by Lincoln Robbins. The third quarter saw Roy put up 2 more goals by Salvador Rodriguez and another Jordan tally by Robbins. With the score Roy 3-2 after 3 Darin Rodarte (assist Rodriguez) put Roy up 4-2 with 5 minutes to go but Jordan would not go away quietly. Paul Hayward (assist McKay Pierce) scored 15 seconds later and again (assist Robbins) a minute after that to lock it at 4. Shots continued to fly as both teams tried to end it in regulation but the goalies stood tall in net. Jackson Babka was credited with 14 saves for Jordan and his counterpart JoJo Tuefele had 17 saves for Roy. After an exciting scoreless first overtime, 2 minutes and 2 seconds into the second OT session #99, not Wayne Gretzky, but Mitchell Rogers (assist Rodriguez) scored the final goal of the DII season and sent the Royals back to Roy with the trophy. It is safe to say this Roy team lived up to the words that hang in Coach Olson’s office “The only place were success comes before work, is in the dictionary.”
Thunder D-I Championship
Juan Diego 3 Brighton 2 – Overtime
In the Thunder Division this year the ULA decided to institute the first ever DI Championship game. To qualify for the big game, teams had to be one of the 2 best teams in the league. (Next year ULA will look into expanding the playoffs) This year Juan Diego was the #1 seed as it finished the season undefeated. Brighton was the #2 seed as they finished the year 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Juan Diego. This set up a grudge match that did not disappoint the fans.
They may not have lit up the scoreboard in the rematch (Juan Diego won 12-5 during the regular season) but the game was not short on end-to-end action and stellar goaltending. Juan Diego’s Blake Davis scored the only goal of the 1st half while the goalies came up huge. Canyon Curtis made 5 saves for Brighton (12 overall) and Miller Cordial made 8 saves for JD (21 overall) in the first 20 minutes. The third quarter was quiet on the scoreboard, but then the fireworks began early in the 4th. Ben Bunker evened the game at 1 on an extra-man goal just 45 seconds in. JD’s Ian Sorensen got the lead back 3 minutes later. Again, Brighton fought back to tie the game just before the game hit the 2 minute mark as Josh Nydegger found the back of the net. In overtime, the game was finally decided 2 minutes into the extra session as Mateo Rivera’s (assist Blake Davis) shot, through traffic, crossed the goal line and JD players charged the field in victory.
Junior and Thunder All Star Games
On Wednesday ULA held their Junior DIII and Thunder DI & DII All Star games at Quinn’s Junction in Park City. The turnout by both players and fans was tremendous to say the least. Neither of the scores mattered, as it was all about the kids getting recognized one more time for the great seasons they had and to show everybody the future is bright for Utah lacrosse. Special thanks to Park City (especially Missy O’Neal) for the hospitality showed in staging the games and the coaches and ULA board members (Walker Bateman, Marshall Kay, Jon Elman, Bryan Frates, Randy Curtis, and Josh Elder) that came together to make it happen.
For a complete list of ULA Youth All Stars please visit the homepage at www.utahlax.org.
Congratulations to the Girls of Park City and Lone Peak who put on a show of their own in the Junior title game. Park City Red came out on top 10-6 this year and took the crown back up the mountain.
And with that, it’s a wrap for the 2013 ULA Youth Season. I hope everybody enjoyed my recaps and I look forward to doing it again in 2014. In the meantime, keep your sticks in hand, hit the wall, and never stop laxing !!!
ULA Juniors Commissioner
For more information about The Utah Lacrosse Association (ULA) visit our website (www.utahlax.org) and/or check us out on Facebook.
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For Immediate Release – Utah Lacrosse Association