The Snow Canyon boys soccer team faced a daunting task Friday night.
A high-pressure matchup with Cedar amid gusty conditions were just a couple of the many challenges the Warriors encountered on the field. Nevertheless, they dug deep and overcame an early deficit to prevail, 3-1, in the season finale of the Region 9 season.
“This win was huge. If we had lost, we would’ve dropped to the fourth seed and played Desert Hills on Tuesday (in a tiebreaker), then (possibly) Stansbury on Thursday,” SC head coach Isaac Klingonsmith said.”
Cedar and Snow Canyon entered the matchup in a third-place tie, and with seeding on the line, both teams’ aggression proved serious.
Although the Warriors were on the offensive for most of the first half, lack of execution proved to be costly as Cedar snatched an early 1-0 lead despite its limited opportunities.
Michael Briano scored in the 27th minute as he positioned himself directly in front of the SC goalkeeper, and when a dribbler from the left wing came his way, Briano fended off a Warriors’ defender and guided it to the back of the net with a soft push.
Snow Canyon (7-4-1, 10-5-1), however, didn’t waiver and kept its aggressive attack going in the second half.
After numerous missed opportunities at the goal, the Warriors’ pursuit eventually came to fruition.
Sophomore Angel Muniz tied the game with a timely short-kick near the left post. Moments later, Branson Stafford again broke the Cedar backline and scored on a one-on-one shot against the opposing goalkeeper.
“We knew we were getting some good chances,” Klingonsmith said. “It was just a matter of sticking to our style of play. That’s when we’re at our best. … When we struggle, it’s because we’re playing individual soccer.”
Muniz ultimately put the game out of reach with another goal. This one coming in the 75th minute, where he was once again slotted on the left wing and found room near the post.
“My first goal I was shocked, because I didn’t have a real good angle,” Muniz said. “The second one I was going to try and cross it, but I saw an opening and went for it. … We knew this was a big game. There was pressure to do well, and after a good halftime talk, we came out with a better mindset.”
Cedar falls to 6-5-1 in region (7-7-2 overall), but this club could be dangerous in the bracket as they have lost just twice in its last six games.
With two efficient attackers in Briano (nine goals) and Brock Shipp (12 goals), Cedar could be a tough matchup for any higher seed.
For Snow Canyon, its first round seed is secured as they will likely travel to face Ben Lomond next week.