Wins aren’t always pretty — as was the case Saturday — but in the playoffs, all that matters is surviving and advancing.
That was the case for Snow Canyon as the Warriors went on the road to take on the Canyon View Falcons in a 3A quarterfinal game.
With the game tied 1-1, sophomore midfielder Mackenzee Brough scored the game-winning goal in extra time to send the Warriors back to the 3A semifinals with a 2-1 victory over the Falcons.
As the ball rolled into the back of the net, Brough was quickly smothered as her teammates piled on top of her in celebration.
“It’s a special feeling,” Brough said of her game-winning goal. “We worked so hard this year, and to know that I made my team proud is pretty special.”
“I was at the bottom of the pile and I was getting smushed,” she added. “But I’ll take that every time if we keep winning.”
Snow Canyon coach Kenny Kunde said the Warriors played tight Saturday.
“There was a lot of pressure on this game, and we didn’t play loose like we usually do,” he said. “But give credit to Canyon View for playing a tough game and pushed us to the brink. They had a heck of a season and played a terrific game today.”
Brough’s game-winning goal came from 18 yards out and scored the biggest goal of the season for the Warriors.
“With the ball just outside the box and with the way Canyon View was setting up their wall, Ashley (Brindley) and I both talked about it and knew that if we tried hitting it over the wall, it wouldn’t be able to dip down in time,” Brough said.
With that in mind, Brough struck a low liner that went under the wall and just out of the outstretched arms of Canyon View keeper Jessica Hinck.
“It was a really small window to score, and I don’t really know how I pulled it off, but I did it,” she said.
Snow Canyon had a number of chances to score in the game as the Warriors tallied 19 shots. In the 10th minute, the Warriors were awarded a penalty kick after Heidi Smith was taken down inside the box. However, Hinck made a terrific save — one of many on the day — to keep the game scoreless.
Snow Canyon finally broke through in the 25th minute as Brielle Hoskins rose up and headed home the first goal of the game.
“That was huge. Brielle does a great job at tracking balls in the air and is such a weapon for us,” said Kunde. “She may be a defender, but on corners we love to send her up because she’s so strong and does a great job at giving us chances to score like that.”
The Falcons answered right before the half as forward Morgan Haag volleyed in a beautiful cross off a free kick in the 38th minute to tie the game 1-1.
“The plan was to get a couple of goals in the first half with the wind because we knew it was going to be hard going against the wind,” Kunde said. “The girls were disappointed at the half, but the great senior leadership on this team really kept everyone focused and the girls were able to pull it out.”
After the game Kunde looked as though the weight of the world was lifted off of his shoulders.
“Today’s game was easily the most pressure that I’ve felt in all my years of coaching going against Canyon View,” he said. “I’m proud of our effort and for keeping possession despite going into the wind in the second half and in overtime and look forward to seeing what we can do next week.
With the win, the Warriors move on to the 3A semifinals and will take on Juan Diego Friday night at Jordan High School. The game starts at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to the 3A championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium.