ST. GEORGE — It’s not very often a playoff soccer game is shortened by the mercy rule, but Dixie did it Thursday afternoon in a 9-1 win over Union at Walt Brooks Stadium.
The Flyers captured their 12th win of the season and earned a ticket to the state quarterfinals with the one-sided game, which was called after 60 minutes as per the UHSAA soccer mercy rule (eight-goal lead after 60 minutes of game time ends the match). The tally sheet reads like a who’s who of Flyers soccer with Tyler Bennett and Conner Beuhner each scoring twice and individual goals being knocked in by McLane Keenan, Elias Mesa Cruz, Pepe Garcia, Francisco Guzman and Jonathan Acosta.
“We played really well,” Dixie coach Burt Myers said. “We made Union chase the ball a lot and got them pretty tired. When we looked at comparative scores and goals scored and things like that, we had a pretty good idea that we should be better than them. But you have to play the game. You never know.”
The Flyers, 12-3-3 overall, are the defending 3A champions. Myers said, notwithstanding the win against the Cougars, things will be tough for his team in the playoffs.
“This team has a lot of good things going for it, but being defending champs, there’s definitely going to be a target on our backs,” he said. “Everybody is going to give us their best shot. But we have almost the same team back from last year except for a couple of injuries. We’re pretty quick and we move the ball well.”
Dixie has only lost one game in the past seven weeks and two of the Flyers three losses are to 5A schools Lone Peak and Alta. Pine View is the only 3A school to accomplish the feat, a 2-1 overtime game two weeks ago.
As for the first-round game against Union, Bennett needed just two minutes to score the first goal and knocked another one home seven minutes later. Union had a brief glimmer of hope with a goal by Jaden Libberton in the 20th minute. But Guzman and Beuhner both scored within six minutes of the Union goal to make it 4-1. Dixie added three more by halftime and the rout was on.
The win means the Flyers will get one more game at home, their quarterfinal match-up with Ben Lomond Saturday at 1 p.m. Thew Scots beat North Sanpete in another mercy-killing, 8-0.
The state semifinals are May 8 at 4 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. at Alta High in Sandy. The championship match is May 9 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
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