The state of Utah’s top ranked girls lacrosse team — the Park City Miners — once again flexed their muscles for all to see.
Facing Waterford in arguably their toughest test of the season, the Miners dished out a 20-8 thrashing of the Ravens at Dozier Field in Park City Friday evening. Park City senior, and University of Colorado Boulder commit, Kendall Keblish scored six goals to help her team record its third 20-goal game in its first six outings.
In addition to the goal scoring, Keblish shined on all parts of the field, from defensive intensity to draw play, she was the catalyst for much of Park City’s success.
Park City head coach Mikki Clayton had plenty of praise for her senior captain.
“Kendall is a fierce competitor,” Clayton said. “She really wants to win and hates to lose and that bleeds through to everyone on the team.”
Keblish wasn’t left alone to do the scoring, as Park City had six other players write their names on the scoresheet. Amelia Livingston, Sophie Neff and Lilly Hunt were the other leading scorers with three goals each.
It was apparent from the onset of the game that Park City came to play and to play fast. Senior Kathrin Nixon scooped up the opening draw, sprinted toward Waterford’s goal and cashed in the first goal of the game just 16 seconds in.
The goal typified the way that Park City aims to play each game, according to Clayton.
“We try to push the tempo always,” Clayton said. “We really work on that in practice. We play hungry for the ball and want the ball at all times.”
Though Park City excelled while pushing the tempo, it still was able to play more methodically when the situation dictated. The Miners were patient in working the ball around to find the scoring opportunities, which appeared to wear down the Waterford defense as the game progressed.
The dominant Miners still struggled to wear down Waterford’s Jaimeson Meyer, one of the best lacrosse players in the state. Meyer, a Navy commit, scored six of Waterford’s eight goals and almost single handedly kept Waterford from being blown out.
“(Meyer) is a physical, intense, athletic player,” said Clayton, who coached Meyer while she was on Utah’s U17 team. “She’s competition wherever she’s playing on the field, whether it’s midfield, attack, or D, you know when (Meyer) is on the field.”
Waterford could’ve added at least a few more goals to its tally if not for an impressive performance from Park City’s senior goalie Sadie AbuHaider. AbuHaider displayed her quick reaction time by saving a couple of close-range shots from the Waterford attack.
Two of the close-range saves came when Park City had just a five goal advantage. If AbuHaider had let the two shots go past her, one could be left to wonder how much of the momentum would’ve swung Waterford’s way if they were able to cut the lead to three.
“Sadie has been awesome in the cage all year,” Clayton said. “When the game is close, that’s always when Sadie seems to play the best. She had an awesome, awesome game for us today against the really intense sharpshooters that Waterford has.”
The big win pushed the Miners to 6-0 and further cemented the squad’s position in the rankings.
Although the Miners are ranked No. 1, Clayton says that her team refuses to let ranking set a ceiling for the team.
“It’s great to be ranked No. 1, but our team wants to continue to keep pushing and getting better,” Clayton said. “We respect and value every opponent we play, so we’ll continue to take it one game at a time.”