ST. GEORGE — Megan Giddings smiles big when she thinks about what just happened.
The junior goalkeeper for Cedar poked away a hard shot on a penalty kick with 2:25 left in the game and the Lady Reds held on for a 1-0 road win at Dixie Tuesday night on the opening night of region play.
The defending state champions beat the defending region champions in a game that went scoreless for 70-plus minutes. The only goal of the night came at the 9:50 mark when sophomore twins Rachel Hunt and Julia Hunt teamed up to break the scoreless tie. Rachel streaked down the right side under heavy pressure from the Dixie defense, then crossed the ball in front of the goal to Julia, who pounded it into the left side for the score.
“We’ve practiced our whole lives together,” Julia said. “I knew by the way her body was that she was going to cross. The keeper was moving forward and I just got a step and that nice pass and my shinguard just knocked it right in. I drilled with my shinguard.”
The lead looked very much in jeopardy seven minutes later as Dixie’s Starlee Woodbury got taken down from behind just inside the box. Dixie tabbed Liz Durrant to take the ensuing penalty kick. She hammered it hard and low to the right, but Giddings guessed correctly and got a piece of it to save the goal and the game.
“You have to guess,” Giddings said. “If you wait until they kick it, you have no chance. I had studied (Durrant) all game and knew that she would go to my left and she did.”
Cedar coach Scott Kamachi said stopping a PK is no simple task.
“Good luck is what I told her,” he said. “We practice them in practice and try to give her a little help, but really, you just kind of have to guess the right way, they don’t hit it perfect and hopefully you get a knee on it. That was an awesome play by Megan, especially considering it is her first region varsity game.”
Cedar, 5-2 overall and 1-0 in region play, had several good chances to score late in the first half, then again at the 20-minute mark of the second, though Dixie keeper Mashaun Estridge closed out all the challenges.
The Flyers, 2-3-0 and 0-1-0, had their own chances, including a clean shot from about 25 yards with 8:55 left by Isabell Erickson. That one and another by Kennedy Warnick both went wide.
Cedar hosts Snow Canyon Thursday at 4 p.m. Dixie is at Desert Hills Thursday night.
Desert Hills 1, Hurricane 0
Drew Morby’s goal with about three minutes left was the only tally of the night in this defensive battle out in Hurricane.
“We possessed the game,” said D-Hills coach Benji Nelson, coaching against his former team. “It was probably the best game we’ve played all year as far as possession. It looked real pretty, but we couldn’t finish. We hit the post several times and their goalie played really well. She had a lot of saves.”
Desert Hills keeper Brittany Moore recorded the shutout, while Jaquois Allan kept the Tigers in the game at her end.
The Thunder improved to 3-3-1 overall and 1-0-0 in region with the win and will host Dixie Thursday night. Hurricane fell to 4-2-1 overall and 0-1-0 in region. The Tigers are at Pine View Thursday night.
Snow Canyon 4, Pine View 1
Jen Stewart scored twice in the game as the Lady Warriors raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first half at Warriors Stadium.
Pine View was able to avoid the shutout with a tally in the second half, but fell to 3-1-2 overall and 0-1-0 in region with the defeat.
Snow Canyon visits Cedar Thursday afternoon with Pine View home against Hurricane Thursday night.
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