Pine View clinched a tie for the region title with a 4-0 home win over Canyon View Wednesday night.
The Panthers spent most of the first half dominating the run of play, pressuring the Falcons with myriad shots and corners, but Pine View could not find its breakthrough goal.
Once Pine View got on the board, however, the goals came easily.
Keith Collins scored the initial goal in the 38th minute, a one-time volley off Cesar Gutierrez’s cross. Collins placed his shot into the right side of the net.
“We just played it out wide to Cesar, and he looked up and found me, and I just had to put it in,” Collins said.
And once the dam broke, the goals gushed forth. All four of the Panthers goals came within a 20-minute span.
“That first goal against Canyon View is always difficult,” PV head coach Sam Johnston said. “They play great defense. They’re tough and they’re strong, but if you can score that first goal, you can sometimes get going.”
After Gutierrez’s goal, the Panthers started roaring. Just 43 seconds into the second half, Michael Cardenas added another, crushing whatever hopes the Falcons had.
“That’s what every coach wants, is to get a goal right at the end of the half, and get a goal right at the start of the second half,” Johnston said.
In the 52nd minute, Daniel Arellano drilled a hot shot off the right side of the box. The Falcon keeper was forced to make a diving save, but could only knock it down. Michael Wade quickly pounced on the loose ball for an easy tap-in to make it 3-0 Pine View.
The Panthers’s final goal came when Braden Johnston headed from six yards out on a corner kick in the 58th minute.
“Once you get that first goal, they get down, and you can play possession soccer,” Collins said. “It opens up space for you to make crosses.”
A week ago, Pine View suffered a heartbreaking loss to Dixie that sent the region race into chaos with Dixie, Pine View, and Snow Canyon all bunched together at the top.
But Dixie stubbed its toe last Friday against Desert Hills, and Pine View dispatched Snow Canyon in a critical game Tuesday night, to clear up the region race once again and leave the Panthers alone at the top — for now.
Wednesday’s win eliminated Snow Canyon from the region crown race, but Dixie, which owns the tiebreaker against the Panthers, still has a shot at the top seed. However, that will take a Pine View loss and a Dixie win.
Pine View hosts fourth-place Cedar Tuesday in its region finale, while Dixie travels to Snow Canyon Tuesday and then finishes up at Canyon View next Friday. The Falcons’ lone region win this season came against the Flyers, back on April 1.
While either a win or a tie gives the Panthers the title outright, Johnston said his team will be looking to close out its season with a win.
DESERT HILLS 0, CEDAR 0, 2 OT: Both sides had great chances to score in the later stages, but neither side could break the logjam as the Thunder and Redmen played to the tie.
Cedar’s best chance came in the final seconds of the first overtime, but Ethan Fletcher’s shot from just inside the 18 settled on the netting outside the far post.
Desert Hills had a chance of its own with time winding down in the second 10-minute overtime, but Cedar goalkeeper Kaeland Osborn made a diving save and kept the ball out of the net.
Cedar is fourth in the standings at 5-3-1 in Region 9 play, but Desert Hills saw its postseason hopes take a hit as they fell to 4-5-1.