ST. GEORGE — The Crimson Cliffs girls soccer team has a target on its back, and that makes for some outstanding matches on the pitch in Region 10 action.
Thursday night at home, the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs rallied from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to tie visiting Dixie 1-1 in regulation, survived two overtime sessions and then beat the Flyers 5-4 in penalty kicks to remain undefeated in region competition.
“Our girls had so much heart and just wanted this win so much,” Crimson Cliffs coach Kat Esplin told St. George News. “They took everything they had and made it happen.”
Much of the first half was spent in midfield action as both teams played good defense, clogging passing lanes and not allowing many scoring chances in the box.
With just 50 seconds remaining in the first half, Dixie took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the Mustangs.
The Flyers struck on a breakaway when sophomore Hali’a Pelton collected an assist from senior Kaylee Braegger and tallied for a 1-0 lead at the break.
“The intensity that we played with was top, I couldn’t ask for more,” Dixie coach Crystal Soderquist said. “They played well, they played with intensity. The defensive effort was great. They were playing hard and recovering. Their keeper made some great saves, and so did ours.”
Except for a three-minute stretch midway through, the second half was all Mustangs as Crimson Cliffs relentlessly pursued the equalizer.
Their effort paid off when Jantzyn Losee knocked in a rebound in the 34th minute to tie the match 1-1. It was the ninth goal of the year for Crimson Cliff’s senior forward.
Both goalies really stepped up in the match. Dixie junior keeper Monet Rogers made several outstanding stops, a couple of them in the overtime sessions when the Mustangs had point blank opportunities.
Crimson Cliffs senior goalie Ellie Nielson saved Dixie’s last penalty kick attempt to secure the win. She said a lot was going through her mind on that last kick.
“I was just like, I had to give it my all and try to save that one,” she said. “We really pulled through. We were losing the majority of the game, but we got our intensity up enough to score and make it through the overtimes and get to the PK’s.”
Scoring for Crimson Cliffs in the shootout were Losee, Kate Young, Brinley Meadows, Alexandra Blanchard and Kamryn Brown.
Esplin said every region team comes out and “plays their best game against us.”
“So we have to come out with our best game every time. We can’t let down for one second.”
In other Region 10 girls soccer action Thursday night, Snow Canyon defeated Pine View 4-3.
Lilly Wittwer scored twice for the Warriors, and Millie Warner and Chloe Vowell each notched goals for the victors.
Scoring for Pine View in the loss were Brynlee Johnston, who tallied twice, and Katelyn Leavitt.
And Cedar beat Hurricane 3-2 behind two scores from Rylan Tebbs and a goal from Anna Hall.
Next Tuesday’s Region 10 schedule is as follows:
Crimson Cliffs at Hurricane, 7:30 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Dixie, 7:30 p.m.
Desert Hills at Pine View, 7:30 p.m.
Cedar High (bye)
Region 10 girls soccer standings (region, overall)
- Crimson Cliffs, 4-0, 7-2
- Desert Hills, 2-1, 2-5
- Pine View, 3-2, 4-5
- Dixie, 2-2, 4-5
- Snow Canyon, 2-2, 2-5
- Cedar, 1-4, 3-6
- Hurricane, 0-3, 0-5
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