ST. GEORGE – Every game is meaning more and more. Teams are down to either one or two games, and they are not the only ones feeling the pressure. Coaches know what is at stake and fans are sitting on the edge of their seats. Every goal scored is one step closer to the playoffs. Some teams are just hoping to get in, while others are eyeing the region championship.
Thursday night, Snow Canyon took a huge step toward a region title with a key win over the Dixie Flyers. Ceda ar and Desert Hills kept hope for region supremacy alive as well. Here’s a look:
Snow Canyon 5, Dixie 2
“The number one goal we always have is a region title,” Snow Canyon head coach Kenny Kunde said. “Programs that can consistently win region titles, in my opinion, are the programs that are the best. Last year, we tied with Desert Hills. We’d like to get that one by ourselves this year.”
After the Flyers beat Hurricane on Tuesday, the preparation was not easy. Delaney Story, who went down with a knee injury early against the Tigers, was told she had torn her ACL, LCL, and meniscus. The Flyers also had another player who was in a minor car accident. That player suffered no major injuries, but was sore today.
“The injury that happened to Delaney is just awful,” Kunde said. “You don’t want to see that happen to anybody.”
Flyers head coach Sam Gibbs said that he just hopes they can have Story, a junior, back for next year.
The first half of the game was one for the books. Both teams were able to respond to anything the other did.
The Lady Warriors scored first when Aranxa Melendez put a perfect free kick into the upper right corner of the goal in the ninth minute.
“I’ve been doing free kicks this year and it’s just been working out really well,” Melendez said.
“You couldn’t put that in a better spot.” Kunde said.
Less than a minute later, Flyer Jessica Vasquez took a hit from behind and went down. After Vasquez came out of the game for a short time, the Flyers had a new fire lit beneath them.
Kennedy Warnick scored in the 13th minute to even the score at one goal each.
In the 17th minute, Melendez kicked the ball from midfield toward Heidi Smith, who put the ball in the back of the net for her second goal in as many games.
The Flyers refused to back off, scoring again in the 33rd minute on a Kelcee Call shot to tie the game at 2-2.
But the Lady Warriors refused to let the Flyers have a tie game for long. Senior Brielle Hoskins somehow scored a goal despite having a terrible angle from the left side.
The teams would go into halftime with Snow Canyon leading 3-2.
“We knew this game was going to be one of the better ones this year,” Kunde said. “Dixie has been playing really well this year. Sam has done a great job over (at Dixie). We were on our heels defending. We challenged (our players) to play with a little more energy in the second half.”
Things were quiet for most of the second half, as each team could barely manage to get a shot off toward the other goal. But the Lady Warriors again refused to let the Flyers into the game.
Melendez scored her second goal of the game in the 62nd minute, sealing the game for the Lady Warriors.
“She was lights out today. She was dialed in on shooting,” Kunde said. “Her shots were phenomenal today. Great, great game from her. We expect a lot from her. She’s just energy and a go-getter. We’re really proud of the way she played today.”
Ashley Brindley scored the final goal for the Lady Warriors in the 75th minute to ice the game.
The Flyers also had four different players called for a yellow card, including one right when the game ended when an in-bounder threw the ball and hit a Snow Canyon player.
The Flyers (7-2-1 in region) will play Desert Hills on Tuesday at home, looking to retake the Region 9 lead as Snow Canyon has a bye.
The Lady Warriors (8-3) have a bye on Tuesday, but will play Hurricane at home on Friday in a potential revenge game.
Desert Hills 1, Hurricane 0 (F/2OT)
Desert Hills, 6-3-1, will travel to Dixie on Tuesday in hopes of securing a playoff berth.
The Tigers, 4-3-3, will host Cedar on Tuesday, looking to rebound and sneak into the playoffs.
Cedar 4, Pine View 2
Laws scored one goal in the first half for the Lady Reds, while Cierra Barber scored for the Panthers to tie the game at one goal each going into halftime.
Laws was able to score again in the 44th minute on a breakaway to give the Lady Reds a 2-1 lead.
Hunt then added her goal for the Lady Reds in the 45th minute when she, too, got out on a breakaway. Both goals came after the Cedar goalie had stopped a Panther’s shot.
Barber scored again for the Panthers in the 56th minute to bring Pine View (0-11) within one. But Laws iced the game later on with her third goal of the day.
Laws now has scored 12 goals on the year.
With the Hurricane loss, both Dixie and Snow Canyon clinched playoff berths.
Cedar will clinch a playoff berth with either a win or tie in either of its next two games, or by having Hurricane take a loss or tie in a game.
Desert Hills can clinch a playoff berth with either a win or a Hurricane loss.
The Tigers must win both their remaining games (Cedar and Snow Canyon), and have Cedar lose to Dixie and Desert Hills lose both games.
Also, note that Cedar no longer has a tiebreaker with Snow Canyon if the Flyers win the region. The Lady Reds and Lady Warriors were 1-1 against each other. If Cedar beats Dixie on Friday, the Lady Reds will then have the tiebreaker for the second place spot. If both teams tie for first, a coin toss will determine the winner.
Canyon View @ Pine View 7:30 p.m.
Cedar @ Hurricane, 7:30 p.m.
Desert Hills @ Dixie, 7:30 p.m.
Snow Canyon — bye
Region 9 Standings (Region, Points, Overall) * = clinched playoff berth
1. *Snow Canyon 8-3-0, 24, 9-4-1
2. *Dixie 7-2-1, 22, 7-4-2
3. Cedar 7-3-0, 21, 7-7-0
4. Desert Hills 6-3-1, 19, 7-6-2
5. Hurricane 4-3-3, 15, 6-3-3
6. Canyon View 1-8-1, 4, 4-8-1
7. Pine View 0-11-0, 0, 0-13-0
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