ST. GEORGE – Soccer fans were treated to an offensive explosion Tuesday night at Walt Brooks Stadium between Dixie (6-2-3, 5-0-1) and Desert Hills (4-7-0, 1-5-0).
Two goals were scored during the games opening minutes and by the end of the night, eight different players found the back of the net for the Flyers and the Thunder.
After battling 1-1 in the first half, Dixie completely took things over in the second, as the Flyers cruised to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Thunder.
“We weren’t able to clear the ball from the backline and it stayed there long enough for Dixie to take advantage of it,” Desert Hills soccer coach Stuart Dewey said. “It wasn’t our day today, but we will have to have a short memory, regroup, and put this game behind us since we have a quick turnaround against Hurricane tomorrow.
While the loss was a tough one to swallow, there were still some positives to take away from the game. Through 10 games this year, Dixie has given up just 5 goals and has posted five shutouts along the way. While nobody likes losing, scoring two goals against a tough Dixie defense should bode well for the Thunder offense going forward.
Coming into the game, Dixie has had to mix and match its lineup for much of the year because of several starters going down with injuries. However, tonight was the first game that most of the starters were healthy enough to go a full 80 minutes.
Dixie soccer breaks their halftime tie for a win against Desert Hills Tuesday, March 31, 2015.
“It was great seeing most of the guys out there playing again,” Dixie soccer coach Burton Myers said. “We’ve missed them, but at the same time, we’ve developed a lot of depth because so many guys have stepped up and have played well for us.”
That depth has helped the Flyers become one of the most balanced teams in the entire state with 10 different players having scored at least one goal. Six have scored more than one goal and tonight was no different.
All six goals for Dixie came from six different players who put on an aerial show in the second half. Av’ry Green scored on a cross from Jose “Pepe” Garcia in the 7th minute.
Then the show began. Garcia, Tyler Bennett and McLane Keenan all scored in a span of just six minutes at the start of the second half to put the game out of reach. Garcia got his goal after dribbling around in the box before putting it in. Keenan blasted a shot from 20-yards out and Bennett was on cleanup duty as he followed up a rebound.
“We just talked about a couple of things that we’ve been working in on practice and tried to incorporate that into finishing and it was working well in the second half,” Myers said. “We hit some hard shots and give credit to Desert Hills for blocking those shots, but our guys didn’t give up on the plays and were able to take advantage of it.
The win was the first for sophomore keeper Bridger Wright who filled in for Ethan Pulton who sat out because of a concussion he sustained in a game a week ago.
“I was really happy with the way Bridger played tonight, Myers said. “For a sophomore he stayed really calm and cool. Desert Hills made some great plays, but overall he did a great job and I was really proud of his performance tonight.”
Knowing he was going to start brought some butterflies, but his teammates made sure to pick him up and lead him to his first varsity victory.
“Starting tonight was a completely different feeling from last week when I filled in for Ethan after he got hurt, Wright said. “All so sudden I didn’t have time to think. This game I was nervous and was thinking about it all game. We started out slow but we started clicking in the second half and I just got in my groove. It was awesome.”
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.
Snow Canyon 4, Cedar 2
Snow Canyon’s Kaden Wittwer scored a had trick for the Warriors as they picked up a 4-2 road win over Cedar. Angel Muniz added a late goal to help the road team pick up the region win. Cedar’s JD Little and Ethan Fletcher each found the back of the net in the loss.