Pine View entered Thursday’s 3A state soccer tournament with high expectations from in and outside of the clubhouse. The reputation seemed to be well-deserved after the club had claimed the No. 1 seed out of Region 9 behind a potent offensive attack.
Against first-round foe Grantsville, the Panthers proved those expectations to be accurate after a dominating 7-0 victory at Panther Stadium.
“That’s exactly what we were hoping to see from our guys,” said Pine View coach Sam Johnston. “Each round is going to be a challenge and our kids were ready for it.”
Pine View gained ball possession early and often while Grantsville (8-6-1 overall) rarely found solutions to clear the ball from its own territory.
The Panthers (13-2-2 overall) reeled off five unanswered goals in the game’s first 16 minutes of play.
“We came out with high intensity and just played our game,” said Panthers’ forward Daniel Arellano. “In soccer, anything can happen. So just because we’re a No. 1 seed doesn’t guarantee us anything. It was important for us to come out with intensity and energy.”
Already ahead 1-0, Pine View didn’t ease off the accelerator.
Under multiple shots being fired in his direction, the Grantsville goalkeeper made an attempt to clear the ball from the box. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the move wasn’t executed. The ball stayed on the ground and Pine View’s forwards took action. Michael Wade secured possession near the left post, fired a roundhouse kick from about 10 yards out, and gave his team a 2-0 lead with about 31 minutes left in the first half.
Just a few minutes later, Braden Johnston converted a penalty kick from about 20 yards out.
Nevertheless, Pine View was nowhere finished.
Michael Cardenas followed that up with a singular attack through the Grantsville backline. He made a move on the left wing, dribbled past multiple defenders, and executed a goal toward the right post to make the count 4-0.
Johnston tacked on another goal to increase the advantage to 5-0 entering halftime.
“Our biggest strength on offense is our balance. We’ve got six to seven guys that can score at any time,” Sam Johnston said. “The key for us going forward (in the bracket) is staying healthy, staying sharp, and just for the players to keep at it.”
To Grantsville’s credit, however, the players’ effort wasn’t lacking as they were able to generate multiple attacks near the end of the first half.
In the end, the talent level for Pine View proved to be too much for the visiting Cowboys, which at first glance traveled just a little more than a handful of fans.
The Panthers’ turnout on the other hand was strong, a showing they hope to see continue Saturday as they’ll host Uintah, a 5-1 winner over Carbon, at 1 p.m.
“This tournament is really big for a lot of the older guys on the team,” said Arellano, a senior. “We didn’t even make the playoffs my first season. So to be part of helping this program get to this level is great. The coaching staff has taught us so much. The chemistry here is strong. It’s like we’re a tight-knit family.”
CEDAR 1, STANSBURY 0: Michael Briano scored the game’s only goal, and Kaeland Osborn made it stand up with the clean sheet on the road as Cedar (10-6-1) eliminated Stansbury, snapping its nine-game winning streak in the process.
Cedar advanced to a quarterfinal matchup at Park City on Saturday. The Miners shut out North Sanpete 5-0 in its first-round match.