ST. GEORGE – If the first two weeks of Region 9 play is any indication, this is going to be one wild race in boys soccer.
Tuesday night, Snow Canyon beat Desert Hills and took over first place. Meanwhile, Dixie stayed close with a win over Hurricane and Pine View got its first win and is back in playoff contention. Read about what happened below:
Snow Canyon 1, Desert Hills 0
Snow Canyon owned the possession for the majority of the game, but the Warriors could only sneak one through all the pressure. Brothers Max and Ben Kemp teamed up for the only tally of the game. It came just after halftime.
SC head coach Marc Wittwer was impressed with the way his defense played.
“We just played really well as a team,” he said. “I said it to the boys, four games and one goal against. I’m pretty happy with the defense, just phenomenal defensively. We got one to go tonight. We keep getting a lot of opportunities, but not getting them to go. We got one to go tonight. Ben Kemp put a really nice one in. Overall, excellent performance.”
Desert Hills head coach Benji Nelson said Snow Canyon is one of the toughest opponents they’ve faced all season.
“I thought Snow Canyon came out the first half, they got the wind, and they were very energetic and went to goal hard,” he said. “I thought we came out a little flat, and we’ve struggled with that every game. I thought they had some decent chances. They got some good throw-ins. But they’re just dangerous, they’ve got some big, strong, fast players. I think this is the best team we’ve played so far as far as pressuring and getting on us. We’re going to take it and learn from it.”
There were no goals scored in the first half, but it didn’t take long for the Warriors to score in the second half. A corner kick led to a heel kick from Ben Kemp that was finished by his brother, Max Kemp, in the back of the net. Ben Kemp was awarded the goal.
“We played hard. We created lots of opportunities. I’m just glad we could get one to go in,” Ben Kemp said. “I was just lucky to get a touch on it. Max (Kemp) actually got the last touch.”
The SC midfield, led by Yetzel Carrillo, played brilliantly as the ball seemed to rarely get behind them. The midfield unit kept the ball in the middle third to the attacking third of the field for the Warriors.
“We wanted to take the No. 1 seed,” Carrillo said. “We came and played our best game we’ve played the whole season. We got the result that we wanted, and we’re satisfied with it. We possessed the ball, made them run, and got that lucky shot in the corner. Our defense is solid. They shut down the strikers, and that’s what we wanted.”
Snow Canyon is now in the lead in the region with 10 points to the Thunder’s nine.
“We got two tough road games out of the way, but a lot of time to go still,” Wittwer said. “We got a tough game against Hurricane, who’s looking really good. We’ll have to get some shooting practice in, I think, some attacking. It’s early in the season, but we feel good about where we are.”
Nelson knows one loss isn’t the end of the season for the Thunder.
“No one is going to go undefeated,” he said. “It’s just tough. Every one of these games is good and important for us. So when we get ready to go to state, we’ve all had good matches and you take from them. If you go undefeated, you start getting overconfident, so I think we’ll take this and it will help us come out harder the next few games.”
Snow Canyon will look to protect its first place position and home field against Hurricane Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“(We’ll) just do the same thing that we’re doing, how we prepared for Desert Hills, to come and get the win and keep staying at the top,” Carrillo said.
Desert Hills will travel to Cedar to take on the Redmen Friday at 4 p.m.
“It’s going to be tough, we have to go there. (There’s an) elevation change, and we have to play on the grass,” Nelson said. “They’ve always got a chance there, everybody knows that. We’ll come out ready to go and make sure we get the next one.”
Dixie 5, Hurricane 2
Dixie scored four goals in the first half to Hurricane’s two, but the second half had a better showing of defense as Dixie scored the lone goal in the half.
Dixie’s Jose Morales scored two goals, as Sergio Diaz, Oscar Quintero and Jorge Bernabe each added one.
Hurricane’s Dan Brubaker and Jeff Bjarnson scored a goal each.
The game was a battle for third place in the region, which Dixie now owns.
Dixie will next play at Pine View Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Hurricane will travel to Snow Canyon to attempt to dethrone the Warriors Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Pine View 3, Cedar 2
The PV win and Cedar loss drops the Redmen into last place in the region, and pulls the Panthers out of the cellar.
Pine View will face Dixie next on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Cedar will host Desert Hills fresh off its first region loss of the season at 4 p.m. in Cedar City.
Region 9 Soccer Standings (team, region, points, overall)
Snow Canyon 3-0-1 (10) 7-2-1
Desert Hills 3-1-0 (9) 7-3-0
Dixie 2-1-1 (7) 6-2-2
Hurricane 1-2-1 (4) 3-4-1
Pine View 1-3-0 (3) 2-7-0
Cedar 0-3-1 (1) 2-8-1
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