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Mustangs ‘cross wins title

Jun 22, 2017 09:47AM ● Published by Greg James

The Mustangs lacrosse team hoists the Division B state championship trophy after they defeated Northridge 11-8. (Phil Dunn/Herriman lacrosse)

By Greg James |  gregj@mycityjournals.com
           
The Herriman High School boys lacrosse team won a big trophy at the state tournament this spring.
 
“The is the first hardware that Herriman boys lacrosse has ever won,” head coach Phil Dunn said. “It is a great milestone for our program and a great building block for our future lacrosse players.. This was my second season with the team. The boys have worked really hard. We struggled at the start, but when it clicked, we knew we could make a deep run in the playoffs.”
 
The Mustangs qualified for the Class B playoffs, and after three early round victories, they defeated Northridge 11-8 in the championship game May 20.
 
The championship match started well for the Mustangs, as they jumped out to an early lead. Senior Noah Bickham received a short pass from Marcus Warner, and he snuck in on the left side of the goal. Bickham lowered his stick and scooted the ball in below the Northridge goalie.
 
The game continued to seesaw back and forth until Herriman began to take control in the fourth period. After they scored early in the period to take a 10-7 lead, the Mustangs never looked back.
 
When the clock expired, the Mustangs stormed the field as state champions.
 
“We really rode the back of some great goalkeeping in the playoffs,” Dunn said. “There is a great weight on a goalkeeper’s shoulders. He is the quarterback of the defense. Aspen (Valdez) really led our team to the championship.”
 
Valdez allowed an average of 5.43 goals per game. He had a 55 percent save percentage. Dunn said anything over 50 percent is considered very good in lacrosse. Junior Markus Reynoso also spent time in goal for the Mustangs; he allowed 4.3 goals per game.
 
“We had two goalies that really gave us a good base all season,” Dunn said.
 
Colt Bartnicki, Zach Geertsen and Cage Blackburn were named Second Team All-State. Dunn said Bartnicki and Geertsen anchored the defense. Blackburn is a junior attackman.
 
Bickham led the team in goals this season with 35. He has committed to continue playing lacrosse at Southern Virginia University next season. Blackburn had 23 assists.
 
“I think we found our identity,” Dunn said. “These players sacrificed a lot in ego and time to become the best team we could. Our success is rooted in the identity that Herriman lacrosse has become. I really feel our program should swell in the next few years. With the sport becoming sanctioned, it will attract more kids.”
 
The Utah High School Activities Association voted to sanction high school lacrosse beginning in the 2019–20 school year. Lacrosse is the 11th boys and girls sport to be sanctioned. By allowing lacrosse to be part of the UHSAA it will now be governed by the organization, and teams will have more access to high school facilities.
 
The Mustangs finished their season with a 13-4 record. In the playoffs, they defeated Skyridge 10-5, Riverton 11-5 and Waterford 6-3 to advance to the championship game.
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