Region 9 soccer: Young Thunder can’t muster tying goal

Desert Hills vs. Syracuse, Girls Soccer, St. George, UT, Aug. 16, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A continuing trend for Region 9 teams has been to play upper-level teams in the hopes of getting better in time for region play. Unfortunately, that also means taking some tough losses.

Wednesday night Desert Hills battled 6A Syracuse and Dixie took on 6A Davis. While both local teams went down, the young Thunder and Flyers learned lessons that may help down the road.

Here’s a recap of the action:

Syracuse 2, Desert Hills 1

The Titans came in with eight returning starters off of a playoff squad from last season, and had outscored their opponents 13-0 in two matches so far this year.

And while no coach wants to hear about moral victories, DH’s Benji Nelson was not unhappy with his team’s effort.

“You know, we did all right,” he said. “We’re really young – we lost 12 seniors off last year’s team – and so we’re still kind of getting to know each other a little. But we’ve shown improvement every game so far.”

Desert Hills’ Kodee Bracken (19), Desert Hills vs. Syracuse, Girls Soccer, St. George, UT, Aug. 16, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

The Thunder, 1-3, fell down early after Syracuse pounded home a goal by Caroline Stringfellow. But Desert Hills got the equalizer before halftime, with Kodee Bracken tying the score up with her first goal of the season.

It was 1-1 at intermission, with Syracuse finally breaking through in the second half on a goal by Lauren Burnett.

That turned out to be the game winner as the Titans hung on for the tight win.

“The first couple games of the year, we didn’t attack very well,” Nelson said. “We would get in the final third and then rather than take shots, we would pass the ball around. Tonight we did a much better job of attacking – something we’ve worked on in practice. That’s a big move for us.”

Nelson praised the play of goalkeeper Riane Hall and defender Kylee Westhoff. He also was happy, as always, with the play of Drew Morby.

“She’s our quarterback out there – she makes everything happen,” he said. “She always gives 100 percent on offense and on defense. She’s just a great player.”

Desert Hills’ Drew Morby (6), Desert Hills vs. Syracuse, Girls Soccer, St. George, UT, Aug. 16, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

Desert Hills has one more non-region game to get ready for the region playoff race – Friday night against Skyridge. The Falcons, a second-year school from Lehi that is in the 5A classification, comes in with a 1-1-1 record, having split two games with Northridge and having tied Viewmont. The game will be played at Dixie High’s Walt Brooks Stadium due to the Thunder’s home football game Friday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Davis 6, Dixie 0

The defending 6A champs, who were 20-0 last season, bounced back from Tuesday’s loss to Snow Canyon to grab the big win against the Flyers.

The Darts improved to 2-1 with the win. Dixie’s record drops to 0-1.

The Flyers take a big road trip this weekend to Cache Valley. Dixie plays at second-year school Ridgeline Friday afternoon and then visits new Green Canyon High School Saturday. Both games are at 3 p.m.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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