ST. GEORGE – With the conclusion of Tuesday’s matches, the Region 9 playoff teams have been set in stone for the 2017 season. Snow Canyon, Cedar, Dixie and Desert Hills will all be in this year’s 4A girls postseason soccer bracket. But it was not an easy night getting there. So many different possibilities were on the table that it was impossible to count them. Now the possibilities have narrowed down. A recap of the action:
Dixie 2, Desert Hills 2 (F/2OT)
“We’re all coming hungry and we’re all solid teams.” Thunder head coach Benji Nelson said. “It’s a good preparation (for the playoffs).”
“I’m disappointed we didn’t win,” Flyer head coach Sam Gibbs said. “I thought we played well enough to win. I’ll take the tie. We guaranteed that Desert Hills can’t catch us. I would have enjoyed the win, but I’ll take the tie.”
The Flyers elected to start all their senior players in honor of Senior Night, which put a group on the field that had never played together before. The Thunder took advantage, outshooting the Flyers 5-0 in the first 20 minutes.
Once the regular rotation was in, the game was on. Over the next 20 minutes, the Flyers outshot the Thunder 5-1.
In the 39th minute, just before the halftime horn, McKenna Mcallister passed the ball through the only gap in the Thunder defense to McCall Maynard. Maynard took the ball and kicked it right to the back of the net as the Flyers took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The Flyers came out flying in the second half, after Kelcee Call passed inside toward the Thunder goal. Lindsey Barben somehow got a foot on the ball to sneak it by the Thunder goalie, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
The Thunder refused to quit. In the 54th minute, Rylee Robinson took a free kick for the Thunder and was able to get the ball around the Flyers’ goalie to cut the deficit to 2-1. That goal gave the Thunder a new spark.
Only a minute later, Kodee Bracken scored the equalizing goal after beating the defense.
The Thunder had another chance later in the 61st minute w
hen Tayania Crosby went one-on-one with Flyers’ defender Kourtney Kezos. Kezos was able to force a bad angle for Crosby’s shot, causing a miss. Crosby had another shot later on, but put the ball just above the crossbar.
“With our shots, we should have won,” Thunder forward Kodee Bracken said. “After Rylee scored, it brought up everyone’s intensity. Everyone was feeling good and coming together. They saw that we were coming back and they wanted it so much more. I don’t feel like we didn’t want it anymore, we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”
Nearing the end of regulation, the Flyers had a chance to score before the horn. Unfortunately, Gibbs was unable to get his substitutions back on the bench after the ball went out of bounds. The players were forced to sub in, killing precious seconds off the clock.
“That was a mistake,” Gibbs said. “I had been trying to get them in a few minutes earlier, trying to get some fresh legs. It took that long for the ball to get out. I should have pulled them back down.”
Dixie was unable to get a shot off before the horn, so the game went into overtime.
Both teams played very physical in the first overtime period, with several fouls being called. Flyers’ defender Olivia McCune was injured, as well as Megan Preece. Preece also received a questionable yellow card after getting tangled up with a Desert Hills player in the 85th minute.
Coaches and players on both sides had opinions on the physicality of the game.
“It’s Desert Hills and they’re our rival.” Gibbs said. “There was some talking off the field this week and my players took it personal. They came out with some fire to take care of that.”
“That’s what you have to give in the state playoffs every single game.” Nelson said.
“Tonight, it was a battle. There were (back and forth) calls. The last 30 seconds it was rough. I know, for a ref, calling it in the last 30 seconds is rough. We played and they played. Both teams just matched each other.”
“It was pretty nuts,” Flyers’ forward Kelcee Call said. “Both teams were crazy and going after each other and the ball. But we do what we got to do.”
“It’s soccer,” Flyers’ goalie Mashaun Estridge said. “With the level of intensity that these two teams (play with), it’s always going to be an intense game. There’s been a rivalry here since forever. I play with most (of the Desert Hills players) on club, and I love them, but it’s going to get intense on the field. That’s ok because that’s the game of soccer.”
The Thunder and Flyers were unable to score for the rest of the overtime periods, but were able to each earn one point toward the region standings.
Dixie (7-2-2, 23) will travel to Cedar on Friday in a game that will possibly decide the region champion. If Snow Canyon wins, the winner of that game will get second place outright.
Desert Hills (6-3-2, 20) will travel to Canyon View on Friday. The game has no implications on region standings, as Cedar now has 24 points and Dixie owns the tiebreaker. The Thunder will go into the playoffs as the four seed, expecting to travel to either Bonneville High School or Ogden High School on Oct. 11.
Cedar 2, Hurricane 1 (F/OT)
Lauren Craft scored the first goal for the Lady Reds in the 7th minute, while Ashley Jenkins scored the game-winner in the 89th minute.
Hurricane was able to get on the board with a goal in the 6th minute.
Cedar will host Dixie on Friday in what could be the Region 9 championship game.
Hurricane will travel to Snow Canyon, hoping to end the Lady Warriors chances at a region title, and a home playoff game.
Pine View 2, Canyon View 0
Camille Turner scored for the Panthers in the first half. Senior Whitney Christensen was able to net a goal in the second half in her final game in a Panthers uniform.
Canyon View will host Desert Hills in a game that has no significant meaning for the playoffs. The Falcons will look to build momentum to carry into next year.
Pine View has played their final game of the year.
Region 9 playoff teams have been set. Those teams will be: Snow Canyon, Dixie, Cedar and Desert Hills.
Desert Hills: Has clinched the fourth seed. They will travel to either Bonneville or Ogden on Oct. 11 for the start of the playoffs.
Snow Canyon: clinches the Region 9 title with a win AND Cedar loss or tie. If the Lady Warriors tie, Cedar and Dixie must also tie for the Lady Warriors to have a share of the title. A Snow Canyon loss will set them back to no lower than second place. A coin flip will determine the region winner if the Lady Warriors tie with any team for first place because the Lady Warriors were 1-1 against both Cedar and Dixie this season.
Cedar: Clinches region title with win AND SC loss or tie. The Lady Reds will have the third seed with a loss.
Dixie: Clinches region title with win AND SC loss.
Region 9 will play Region 11 in the 4A Girls Soccer Playoffs starting Oct. 11 at the home field of the higher seeded team in each respective matchup. The teams from Region 11 who will be in the playoffs are: Bonneville (#1), Ogden (#2), Park City (#3) and Juan Diego (#4).
Desert Hills @ Canyon View 4 p.m.
Dixie @ Cedar, 4 p.m.
Hurricane @ Snow Canyon, 7:30 p.m.
Pine View — bye
Region 9 Standings (Region, Points, Overall) * = clinched playoff berth
1. *Snow Canyon 8-3-0, 24, 9-4-1
2.*Cedar 8-3-0, 24, 8-7-0
3. *Dixie 7-2-2, 23, 7-4-3
4. *Desert Hills 6-3-2, 20, 7-6-3
5. Hurricane 4-4-3, 15, 6-4-3
6. Canyon View 1-9-1, 4, 4-9-1
7. Pine View 1-11-0, 3, 1-13-0
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