Football

High school boys lacrosse: Olympus beats Corner Canyon

Box score

Boys lacrosse state titles won’t be handed out for six more weeks, but on Friday night Olympus stormed Corner Canyon’s field and celebrated like it won one — and considering the historic nature of the win, perhaps it’s even more significant.

This is Year 3 of lacrosse as a sanctioned sport by the UHSAA, and during that time, Corner Canyon’s boys team has consistently been ranked nationally and it’s never lost to a Utah team with a 43-0 record prior to Friday night.

The Titans ended that streak in dominant fashion. They broke open a tie game at the half by scoring nine straight goals during a stretch of the second half as they pulled away for an emphatic 14-7 victory.

“It really is a statement game for this program. This is something that puts us on the map,” said Olympus coach Nick Merrell.

Olympus’ shot-making during that second half was elite, with five different players contributing to the 9-0 spurt over a span of just 14:34.

Charlie Droitsch led the way with four goals for the game, with Gage Phippen and Ethan Hartsfield adding three each and then Cole Cummings and Andrew Clayton adding two apiece.

“Lacrosse is a game of momentum and a game of runs, and we wanted to limit their runs. We knew they’re a good enough team that they’re going to respond and they’re going to have moments when they’re going to get theirs, but we had to keep punching back and go on runs of our own,” said Merrell.

A huge key to Olympus’ second-half surge was the success of faceoff specialist Weston Holtby, who won roughly 70% of the faceoffs.

Merrell gave the junior the game ball afterward and said a huge chunk of the credit goes to him for securing Olympus so many extra possessions.

Holtby said the adrenaline was flowing for each of those faceoffs after his teammates kept converting them into more goals.

Olympus defender Grey Peterson had a great view to watch his teammates work their magic throughout the second half.

“Our entire team is based off sharing the ball, moving it around, getting goals off everyone and not just one player, and I think that’s what set us apart from Corner Canyon,” said Peterson.

Olympus came into the game with a perfect 7-0 record, but Friday’s game was by far its toughest test of the season. Merrell said his players had the perfect mindset heading into the game.

“These guys are so mentally tough. They haven’t really been challenged too much to this point, but they came in and wanted this game really badly, and we put a lot time into film in watching Corner, and that helped us a lot,” said Merrell.

Olympus’ coach believes many Corner Canyon opponents have a defeated attitude before the game even starts, as the Chargers are known for burying opponents early.

Sure enough, on Friday it won the opening faceoff and came right down field and scored on a Kisen Muramoto goal just one minute into the game.

Olympus had the perfect response, scoring the next three goals for the 3-1 lead after the first quarter.

“We had a really great game plan coming into this, and we got out here and we had the focus and locked in,” said Holtby.

Corner Canyon outscored Olympus 4-2 in the second quarter on a pair of goals by Blake Franckowiak and Jacob Osborn as the teams headed into the locker room level 5-5.

Merrell said Corner Canyon put a lot of short sticks on Olympus’ attack players to take away its strength in the midfield, and it took his team a while to adjust and discover alternative ways of finding success.

Just like it did in the first half, Corner Canyon opened the scoring in the second half as Franckowiak scored at the 9:41 mark giving his team a 6-5 lead.

Cummings answered back a minute later tying the game 6-6, and then Olympus then went ahead for good with 4:28 left in the third on a goal by Hartsfield.

His team tacked on two more goals by the end of the quarter for the 9-6 lead.

In the fourth quarter, instead of Corner Canyon chipping away at the lead, it swelled quickly the other way with the Titans scoring four goals in opening three minutes.

From there they put things on cruise control for the statement victory.

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