Thunder top Falcons in overtime thriller

ST. GEORGE — It was a wild night at Desert Hills as the Lady Thunder took on Canyon View in a fierce Region 9 matchup.

Erica Hansen continued her stellar play by kicking the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Thunder to a 3-2 victory over their region foes.

“Really it’s just my team pushing me and that desire and heart we all have to get the ball into the back of the net and get the job done,” said Hansen, who now has six goals on the year. “It really was a team effort.”

With 11:25 left in the first half, Kenzie Done scored the first goal for Desert Hills (2-2) after a mad scramble for the ball gave her an open opportunity.

Not less than 20-seconds later, Canyon View struck back with a goal of its own. The Falcons drove the field with a vengeance after the ensuing kickoff and speedster Ashlee Braun put the ball past keeper Lauren Bushnell for the quick score.

With the first half winding down, Hansen responded with a penalty kick that grazed over keeper Jaycee Slack’s outstretched hands for the tie breaker.

But Canyon View (0-5) was far from finished.

Late in the second half, Ashlee Braun made a lightning-quick dash for the ball as it rolled up the left field sideline. She drew a foul, lined up and methodically drove the ball straight into Bushnell’s hands. The Thunder keeper lost her footing on the catch and fumbled the ball resulting in another tie game.

“Ashley is a quality player,” Canyon View coach Mark Comstock said. “She should be playing at the next level. She’s a great leader and leaves it all out on the field.”

Michelle Graf tried to answer back on the other end, but her powerful shot was easily scooped up by Slack at the 15-minute mark.

The physicality picked up as the clock wound down. Canyon View’s Kenzie Sawyer and Whitney Comstock each drew a yellow card for playing a little too aggressively in the game’s waning minutes. Even so, the Falcons held off numerous Thunder attempts, including an end of regulation penalty shot from Hansen that Slack easily picked off.

“I felt like I should’ve made a smarter decision during that moment,” Hansen said. “Overtime is the worst feeling, and it’s so tough because it’s so crazy.”

Lucky for Desert Hills, Hansen was ready for some crazy.

After two unsuccessful drives, Hansen took a pass from Makenzie Lewis and attempted a shot at the goal. Defender Katie Lawley deflected the ball, which bounced back to Hansen on the 15-yard line. The thrifty Thunder star gathered herself and kicked in the game-winner at the 5:52 mark in overtime and then threw up her hands in celebration.

“I think it came down to the heart of the kid,” Thunder coach Shaley Allen said. “Erica Hansen is a fighter and she’ll lay everything out on the field. If you give her the opportunity at the end of the game, she’s going to take it.”

Canyon View, which started the season red-hot, has since dropped five in a row to Region 9 teams.

“I thought it was a tail of two halves,” Comstock said. “The last 20 minutes of the second half was probably the best soccer we’ve played all season. We put it all out there. We’ve been on the losing end of a few of those overtime goals. It’s nice to be on the winning end.”

Elsewhere in Region 9, Pine View battled Dixie and settled with a 1-1 draw, while Cedar defeated Hurricane 2-0 to keep its region record untainted.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2012, all rights reserved.

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