The Pioneers of Lehi met against their rivals, the Westlake Thunder, at Brighton High School in Sandy early Saturday morning to compete for the UHSLL Boys Class C Championship. The morning began with high winds and a consistent downpour of rain, which would eventually turn into blue skies. After an intense battle the Thunder took home the championship trophy with a 5-4 overtime win.
Gameplay began a bit slow with a handful of turnovers, likely due to the weather. Westlake was able to take several missed or saved shots before Lehi finally got their chance at the goal about halfway through the quarter. Finally with only 1:34 left on the clock the Pioneers were able to connect. Westlake tied it up with only 3 seconds left on the clock.
Westlake Head Coach Erick Wiedmeier discussed the weather at the beginning of the game, “It started out having a big effect on the game. The heads of the stick and the crosse get loose or stretched out; the field’s wet. It was a little bit difficult to play, but I think both teams played well during that wet weather.”
The second quarter seemed to be the exact opposite of the first. Westlake faceoff midfielder Brock Payne won the opening faceoff and dodged his way to the cage to score the Thunder’s second goal just 13 seconds in. Lehi answered back within a few minutes, tying the game at two. Less than a minute later attackman Parker Smith picked up a rebounded shot to quickly put the Thunder back on top.
At the halfway mark, the weather appeared that it was going to improve. Westlake scored early in the quarter, going up 4 to 2. The remainder of the quarter was filled with an increased volume of shots by both teams, but neither goalie was willing to allow a goal. Westlake keeper Jordan Heer played particularly well, making some key saves that kept the Thunder on top going into the final quarter.
With the rain virtually gone and the wind dying down, Lehi was able turn the game into a close, high intensity contest. Within the first minute, Pioneer attackman Braden Smith scored, assisted by BJ Bettinson, the only assist of the entire game.
Play continued back and forth with no goals until the 2:55 mark. After missing a powerful shot, Lehi Attackman Jordan Bursach ripped high putting the game back at a four-point tie. With 16 seconds left on the clock, Westlake had the opportunity to score but could not get past Lehi defenders and the game advanced into overtime.
Westlake dominated possessions early in the overtime period, taking several attempts for the win. Finally, Westlake defender-turned-attackman Austin Whiting converted a high bounce shot into the championship winning goal.
By the end of the game 5 different Thunder players scored the 5 team goals. Coach Wiedmeier talked about this. “I stressed to the team the whole season to be a band of brothers and to play as team. If you look at our stats we don’t have an individual player that stands out. We have several players that work together and share the ball.”
“They held the ball when they needed to hold the ball.” said Coach Wiedmeier about how the team was able to pull off the win. “They played together. They won the ground balls. They all helped each other out.”
Season recap: Westlake ended their regular season with an 8-7 record, with no losses to other Class C teams. The Thunder defeated Wasatch 10-2 in the quarterfinals after a first round bye. They beat Viewmont 7-6 in overtime in the semifinals. In just three seasons as a team the Westlake Thunder pulled off their first championship with this win over Lehi.
Who ya got in the Class C Championship today? Starts at 10am at Brighton.
— Utah Lacrosse News (@utahlaxnews) May 21, 2016