The Dixie Flyers have had a couple of eyebrow-raising losses during the prep soccer season, but Thursday wasn’t one of those days. Hosting Bear River in the first round of the 3A playoffs, Dixie tallied a 3-1 victory and easily advanced to the second round.
“We were just really trying to press it on them and play really well, play as a team — quick passes, get in and get lots of shots and put the pressure on them,” junior Konner Aitken said. “Once we got up, just step on them.”
The Flyers did indeed apply pressure, but the start of the game was a little slow for both teams as they felt each other out. Dixie appeared to have some early one-on-one opportunities that were wiped out because of offsides. Finally in the 20th minute, things started to get exciting.
Alex Green, Jonny Acosta and various other Flyers began peppering the Bear River goal. Finally, in the 29th minute, Ceasar Perez broke down the Bears’ defense with a beautiful move and pushed the ball into the back of the net.
“We accomplished a lot of what we wanted to — everything we wanted, except our shots probably weren’t as on frame as well we’d probably like,” Dixie head coach Burt Myers said. “Their goalie came off the line and challenged a lot of shots, he did a really good job.”
Five minutes later, the Flyers were at it again as Aitken pushed the ball down the sideline past the defense. As the Bears’ goalie came out to meet him, Aitken lofted the ball over his head and dropped it right down into the open net.
“We made some changes and we started figuring out what we could do,” Aitken said. “Once we played a little, we started figuring out where to go and how to attack them.”
Coming out of the intermission with a 2-0 lead, it was more of the same for the Flyers, who pressured Bear River early and often. Tyler Bennett added the third and final goal for Dixie in the 47th minute as he one-touched it into the net after a beautiful assist over a defender from McLane Kennan.
In the 53rd minute, Bear River finally got on the board when Tanner Porter deflected a direct kick into the net with his head. However, that is all the offense the Bears could muster, as they didn’t pose another scoring threat the remainder of the game.
The Flyers continued to apply the pressure, but couldn’t quite find their accuracy down the stretch. Acosta and Green both had good looks at the goal, and Perez set up Fernando Morales in the 66th minute with a beautiful cross. However, Morales tried to settle the pass and the Bear River goalie foiled the attempt.
“We worked hard and (our players) did the things we’ve asked,” Myers said. “They had opportunities to shoot the ball, and it was just a little bit off today, and next game it won’t be.”
Dixie now hits the road to take on Payson, who defeated Morgan on Thursday, 2-1. The Lions are now 11-6 on the season, but did lose to Pine View, 5-0, in their second game of the season.
“I think we’re starting to peak … our shot selection was great, our passing was great in the box,” Myers said. “I’m happy with where we’re at.”
WARRIORS 2, SCOTS 1: Snow Canyon broke a first-half tie near the 55th minute and held off Ben Lomond on the road Saturday in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.
Angel Muniz provided the first score for the Warriors, as he cut inside from the left wing and lofted a shot up and over the goalie from 23 yards out that fell just under the crossbar. However, that lead was short-lived, as the Scots knotted things up at 1-1 less than a minute later.
In a game that SC head coach Isaac Klingonsmith said had continual ebbs and flows, it was the Warriors that grabbed the momentum last. Chase Jenkins rebounded a Jonny Tuscano shot attempt that kicked off the far post and deposited it into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Warriors were able to hold off the Scots the rest of the way, and advance to play Juan Diego Saturday in Draper at 1 p.m.
“It was a really good game, and we got the result we wanted,” Klingonsmith said. “It shows the quality of our region to have all of our teams advance. If you look at the region standings, you can see that it was pretty much a dogfight for those top four positions.”