ST. GEORGE — Stansbury is not used to losing and the Stallions are definitely not used to being shutout.
The Dixie Flyers served Stansbury a slice of humble pie in a 3-0 Dixie win Saturday afternoon. The Stallions, who were 12-1-1 in their last 14 matches and average 5.4 goal per game, had a hard time penetrating the Dixie defense and when they did, Dixie goalkeeper Taylor Whitson was there to squelch any threat.
“Taylor does a great job for us,” Dixie head coach Burt Myers said. “This is her first year playing soccer and I had to talk her into it. She’s coming out and making great plays.”
The 5-foot-10 junior had several saves and recorded her ninth shutout of the season.
Myers said his big concern with the Stallions was forward Michael Didericksen and rightfully so. The Stansbury senior leads the state with 39 goals this season, averaging 2.4 goals per game by herself.
“What really broke them down was they couldn’t find (Didericksen),” Myers said. “It’s because Cassidy Gray marked her out of the game. I think the girl only touched the ball five times and this is a girls who makes huge plays for them.”
The Flyers jumped out early with McCall Maynard pounding home a rebound in the box for her first goal of the season just 13 minutes into the quarterfinal match. Dixie doubled its lead later in the first half when Sabra Sparks booted a well-placed corner into the box. Liz Durrant rose above the defense and headed it onto the right corner of the net to make it 2-0 with 10:40 to go until halftime.
The second half was a stalemate as Stansbury went on the offensive, but the hustle of Whitson and the Dixie defense kept the Stallions scoreless. Late in the game, Stansbury got a free kick just outside the box and Didericksen fired a rocket toward the crossbar. Whitson spied the shot and elevated to tip it harmlessly away.
“That one free kick down at the end, they were inside the box so I was a little scared,” Whitson said. “I read it and had my angle, so it was good.”
Starlee Woodbury wriggled free in the closing seconds of the match to pound in a little icing on the cake with 15 seconds left. It was her 10th goal of the season, tying her with Durrant for tops on the team.
Dixie now faces region rival Cedar in the state semifinals next week. The game is Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Jordan High School. The winner plays Saturday in the state championship at 4:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.
“We’re starting to come together right now,” Myers said. “I’m still waiting for us to peak. We’re getting better every week. It’ll be a good game. Cedar’s very well coached. They’ve got lots of athleticism so we’re going to have to play our best game to get by them.”
The Lady Reds earned their semifinal appearance with a 3-0 win over Payson Saturday.
A third Region 9 team, Desert Hills, also made its way into the semifinals with an inspiring 5-2 comeback win vs. Bear River.
Things looked bleak for the Thunder, who fell behind 2-0 at halftime and was playing short-handed after one DH player received a red card in the first half.
Undaunted, Desert Hills exploded for five second-half goals to get the road win up in Garland.
So, the semifinal matches — all at Jordan High — will have Dixie-Cedar at 3:45 p.m. and Desert Hills vs. Juan Diego at 6 p.m. The Soaring Eagle defeated North Sanpete Saturday. The winners play Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Video produced by Samantha Tommer
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