ST. GEORGE — Pine View’s faster, but smaller soccer squad took some lumps against Uintah Saturday afternoon. But the Panthers survived and advanced to the state semifinals with a 1-0 victory on a toasty Saturday afternoon at Panther Stadium.
And for the second straight round, Region 9 had tremendous success, with Dixie and Cedar advancing to the semifinals as well. Only third-seeded Snow Canyon fell in the quarterfinals.
For the home-standing Pine View team, moving the ball in the open field wasn’t a problem. But when it came to mixing things up in traffic, the Utes made no bones about wanting to push, collide and kick their way past the Panthers. It almost worked.
“I’m pretty beat up,” said PV midfielder Braden Johnston. “It was a physical game. They were, on average, four to six inches taller than us. It was a battle. We just fought and played to our strengths and we ended up coming out.”
The game’s lone goal came after Michael Cardenas got assaulted in the box. While the game official was reticent to call anything in the box and give the Panthers a penalty kick (it wasn’t the first or last time a PV player went down hrd while trying to score), this foul was egregious enough to warrant the call and it came less than two minutes into the second half.
Johnston, the red-headed senior who has already received an LDS mission call to serve in Argentina, nailed the PK perfectly in the bottom right corner of the goal at the 38:37 mark of the second half, inducing a raucous cheer from the 500 or so Pine View fans in attendance.
“I try to read the keeper and see which way he’s going,” Johnston said. “I ended up seeing which way he was going and put it in the opposite corner. You don’t let any thoughts of failure get in your mind on PKs and that’s what I did.”
Uintah retreated hard on defense, which clogged the shooting lanes for Pine View. Though the Panthers had 17 shots toward the goal, Uintah keeper Jackson Bennion only had a half-dozen saves. Most of the shots were deflected away by other defenders or went off target.
With the focus on defense, the Utes only had six shots on goal themselves and Pine View keeper Justin Jones, who recorded his eighth shutout of the season, handled those easily.
“We prepared really well and the heat didn’t bother us at all,” Jones said. “We practice in this every day. I’m sure it was tough for Uintah to come down and play in this. We’re able to go hard the full 80 minutes.”
With the Utes playing very physical, PV had to adjust its style a bit. Seemingly on every 50-50 ball bodies were hitting the ground. There were several injuries, though none serious, and ac ouple of yellow cards handed out.
“Uintah was big and strong and physical and when they do that … it creates problems for us,” Pine View coach Sam Johnston said. “But our guys did a good job just battling. I don’t think the penalty was cheap. I think it was earned. We were putting a lot of pressure on them. I’m happy about it. It was a tough fought game.”
Pine View advances to the state semifinals and will face a familiar foe in Cedar next Friday night at 4 p.m. at Alta High School. The winner will play in the state championship Saturday at 11 a.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. Pine View beat Cedar twice this season. On Mar. 28 it was a 2-1 PV win in Cedar City and on Apr. 22 it was a 2-0 shutout at Pine View.
Video produced by Bryce Griffin and Dallas Griffin
Dixie 2, Payson 1
Region 9’s second seed, the Flyers, grabbed the lead early and held on for the road win.
The Lions, who averaged 5.4 goals a game in region play, had very little success against a Dixie defense that has allowed just 16 goals in 18 games this season.
Dixie, 13-3-2, advances to play Juan Diego in the later semifinal at Alta High School next Saturday. Game time is 6:15 p.m. The winner advances to Saturday’s championship game.
Juan Diego, the Region 10 champion, is 14-3-0 and has won six straight.
Cedar 2, Park City 1
It’s been an amazing run for the Redmen, who barely qualified for the playoffs, but have since defeated a No. 1 and No. 2 seed.
Cedar scored a goal just before halftime, then doubled its lead early in the second half. The Miners notched a goal late, creating some drama the final 10 minutes or so. But Cedar held on and improved to 11-6-1.
CHS will match up with Pine View in the semifinals next Saturday at 4 p.m. at Alta High School.
Juan Diego 3, Snow Canyon 1
Jun Diego led 1-0 at intermission and moved it to 2-0 just after halftime. Snow Canyon cut the lead in half, but that’s as close as it would get as the Soaring Eagle added an insurance goal late in the game.
SC closes the year with a 9-7-2 record, while JD heads to Saturday night’s semifinal, which is at 6:15 p.m. at Alta High.
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