ST. GEORGE – After dropping two straight close matches, Desert Hills returned to the win column with a big win vs. 4A Cyprus. Dixie and Pine View, meanwhile, had to settle for draws in their matches Friday as the teams tune up for next week’s region competition.
All the region teams have lost at least one game, though it looks like it will be a three-team race at the top between Dixie, Snow Canyon and Desert Hills, based on preseason results.
Here’s a look at Friday’s action:
Desert Hills 4, Cyprus 1
The Thunder held possession most of the game, which displayed in the final score. Desert Hills scored four goals before Cyprus snuck one in just before the final whistle.
After suffering two losses in a row, the Thunder are back on track just in time for region play. DH faces a very good Dixie team next week.
“We got four guys back tonight, which obviously made a difference,” Thunder head coach Benji Nelson said. “I thought we had a better warm-up, and we talked about just becoming a family. I thought tonight they played well. They all supported each other and worked hard. It was a team win. It’s what we expect going forward.”
Kelton Holt got the Thunder’s first goal on beautiful passing between Holt and Bridger Nelson. The goal came just before the halftime whistle.
“We came out with high intensity, just doing our best,” Holt said. “We knew we had to step up after that last loss to Canyon View. Bridger made a great ball in, and I just knocked it in.”
Holt scored the next goal also as he took in a pass about 30 yards from the goal and dribbled through a couple of defenders before blasting a shot past the Cyprus keeper.
“When that ball’s at my feet, I just play,” Holt said. “That ball got knocked to my feet somehow. I had a couple guys on that wing, and I thought I could beat them. I took the wing, and I was about to play Ben (Simister) through the middle, but the guy cut, so I kept the ball and took a rip. It’s all for my team, though.”
Coach Nelson said Holt is fast and very athletic and will probably score in most games.
Bridger Nelson scored the next goal from over 30 yards out when he saw the keeper slide forward out of his goal. Simister capped the scoring with a goal coming off a rebound of a blocked shot.
“Our team played miraculously because we had people gone on vacation, and we had to play with what we had,” Bridger Nelson said. “The fact that our team pulled through and connected and actually had a possession going was awesome. It’s going to be a good season. I’m stoked.”
Defensively, Thunder keeper Isaiah Hacker wasn’t challenged much for most of the game as Desert Hills kept possession throughout.
“Most their shots came from 40 yards out – they weren’t that dangerous,” Coach Nelson said. “I like to put in high pressure, don’t let people turn. When you do that, you make them go backwards. As long as we keep doing that and working hard as a team, it can be tiring, but we’ve got a deep bench, too. If they’ll just stay focused, play for everybody else, not worry about themselves and give 100 percent, we’ll be good defensively.”
Next up, for Desert Hills is a region match against Dixie at home Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ll just come do our thing, and may the best team win,” Coach Nelson said. “We’re just going to focus on what we do best. We’ll come ready and do what we’re going to do, try to possess and create opportunities.”
Dixie 2, Copper Hills 2
The Grizzlies scored two goals in the first 20 minutes before Dixie settled down enough and kept them from scoring again.
Dixie found the back of the net about six minutes before the half on a free kick from Christian Chavez.
Oscar Quintero then tied the game, receiving a pass from Jose Morales. He fought through and scored.
Copper Hills’ Carlos Beccera scored both goals for the Grizzlies.
Dixie will travel to face Desert Hills next on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Pine View 3, Logan 3
The Panthers led at halftime 2-1, but lost the second half 2-1 to lead to the tie.
Pine View’s Kai Kuma scored two goals, while Anwar Schone scored one more.
Pine View will face Hurricane Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Hurricane.
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