COMMENTARY — It’s been an incredible season already in Region 9, with three weeks to go. Since region started on Sept. 7, every week has had at least one nail-biting, heart-pounding thriller, with the most recent edition being the Hurricane 30-23 overtime donnybrook over Pine View.
That game had a lot of meaning for the two teams and the entire region. First of all, Hurricane clinched a playoff spot with the win. The Tigers have a bye this week, but are already assured a playoff spot and with Canyon View still on the schedule, a home playoff game is all but assured as well. Assuming the undefeated Tigers beat the undermanned Falcons Oct. 17, the only way the Tigers don’t get the region No. 1 seed is if Desert Hills wins its last three games, including an Oct. 11 match-up at Hurricane.
For Pine View, the overtime loss at home means the Panthers have to win their final two region games just to get into the playoffs. Pine View has Canyon View this Friday up in north Cedar City and (after a non-league game against Bear River) finishes the regular season with a home game against Snow Canyon. Even with those two wins, PV could miss the playoffs if we end up with a trio of teams tied for second at 4-2 like we had last season.
So, this we know: Hurricane (4-0) has the inside track on No. 1, Desert Hills (2-1) is the only team that can catch the Tigers, Dixie (3-1) is in good shape to make the playoffs and Snow Canyon (2-1) still has a good shot at a high seed. Pine View (1-3) needs some help and Cedar and Canyon View (both 0-3) cannot lose again or they’re out.
The barnburner staged by Pine View and Hurricane represented a couple of things to me. First of all, it represented the high level at which Region 9 is playing. The first round cross-regional games in the playoffs pit Region 9 vs. Region 12. If Pine View makes the playoffs, who wants to be the team to have to face the Panthers?
The game also represented to me what we already knew about Hurricane: The Tigers are champions.
I’m not here to toot their horns, but they just know how to win. In the past four weeks, Hurricane pulled away late at Cedar, whipped a good Snow Canyon team, edged a great Dixie team and then gutted out a victory at Pine View. The Tigers have lost the statistical battle in half their games this year, but so far have won the only battle that really counts: the scoreboard.
This Friday’s games: Pine View at Canyon View; Cedar at Dixie, and Snow Canyon at Desert Hills.
Pine View’s Lacey Hancock and Dixie’s Cydnee Wilkinson will be two of the headliners at the 3A state tennis tournament this weekend in Salt Lake City. The two-day event at Liberty Park in downtown SLC (900 S., 700 E) will feature Hancock and her 11-0 record and Wilkinson (8-2) as well as first singles competitors Madz Eames (Desert Hills) and Frannie Eklund (Snow Canyon); second singles players Shellbe Watson (Dixie), Bergen Nelson (Snow Canyon), Jordyn McGinnis (Desert Hills) and Emily Wilson (Hurricane); third singles competitors Shaylynn Riddle (Pine View), Emily Till (Snow Canyon), Kenedi Cooper (Dixie) and Megan Knudsen (Desert Hills).
Competing in first doubles are the teams of Madison Farish and Andi Behunin (Hurricane), Lindsey Olsen and Kristan Stewart (Cedar City), Paige Harris and Taylor Cooney (Desert Hills), and Stephanie Snow and Bailey Callahan (Pine View). At second doubles, Region 9 players are Lauren Parker and Jessica Langston (Hurricane), Brianna Rucci and Hannah Erekson (Pine View), Maddi Black and Amanda Cottle (Desert Hills), and Xela Armstrong Savannah Ream (Dixie).
Look for a full preview and tournament coverage Friday and Saturday from St. George News staff writer Alexa Verdugo Morgan.
The state golf tournament is this week as well. So the state is going to have it in sunny St. George, right? Or maybe somewhere fairly mild like Utah County, right? Actually, the UHSAA, in its infinite wisdom, is holding Wednesday and Thursday’s state golf tournament in … Roosevelt. The weather forecast for Wednesday morning in Roosevelt: 40 degrees and windy, with a chance of rain.
The weather aside, Snow Canyon’s Joey Sargent and Pine View’s Andrew Shopinski are both talented enough to win state if they can put together two solid rounds. Shopinski tees off at 9:10 a.m. on the first tee at the Roosevelt Golf Course and Sargent starts 30 minutes later on the 10th tee.
We’ll have a full preview and tournament coverage from St. George News sports writer Jeff Ames on Wednesday and Thursday.
In volleyball, Desert Hills just about has the No. 1 seed sewn up as the Lady Thunder have a two-game lead with four matches left. While it’s shocking to see the dynastic Snow Canyon Warriors with two losses in region, they will assuredly be in the state playoffs and will be the team no one wants to play. Tuesday’s games include Cedar at Snow Canyon, Desert Hills at Canyon View and Hurricane at Dixie.
The soccer race is heating up — not for first place (Snow Canyon owns that) — to see who will get into the playoffs. Cedar is all but in with 20 points (six wins, two ties). But the next three teams, Dixie (17), Pine View (14) and Desert Hills (14) are all within three points of each other. Only two of them can make the playoffs. Pine View and Desert Hills play each other Thursday night at DH.
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