If there were any doubts about what boys soccer region was the best in Utah’s 4A ranks, they were surely erased Wednesday.
It was a banner day for Region 11, which advanced three of its teams to the semifinals of the 4A State Championships. The only setback among local programs was an intra-valley showdown between Mountain Crest and Green Canyon. The seventh-seeded Mustangs scored in the ninth minute and hung on to defeat the second-seeded Wolves, 1-0.
Fifth-seeded Sky View and 11th-seeded Ridgeline traveled to St. George and dispatched of the two sides that shared the Region 9 title. The Bobcats (13-4) blew out No. 4 Snow Canyon, 5-0, while the Riverhawks (11-7) blanked No. 3 Dixie, 2-0.
Sky View is the only team that shut out Snow Canyon (13-4) this season, while Ridgeline is only the second side that kept Dixie (13-4) off the scoreboard. Additionally, the Flyers and Warriors had scored multiple goals in all but one match this spring. Heading into Wednesday, Dixie ranked first among 4A teams with 66 goals, while Snow Canyon was tied for the No. 3 position with 58.
“I’d like to congratulate every team in our region,” Sky View head coach Jorge Cruz said. “I knew from the beginning our region was so strong and the results support my words.”
Caden Penrose recorded a brace for the Bobcats, who extended their winning streak to six and have outscored the opposition by an impressive 21-2 margin during that stretch. The senior headed in a Kai Schwartz free kick in the 10th minute, and converted on a pass from Cole Thedell midway through the second half.
Isaac Larson, Jakobi Dursteler and Zander Woodward also found the back of the net for Sky View, which got an assist from Daion Leng.
Cordell Ludlow earned his eight clean sheet in goal for the Bobcats, who will square off against No. 8 Stansbury in the first of two semifinals next Monday at 5 p.m. at Jordan High School. The Stallions upset region rival and top-seeded Juan Diego, 2-1.
“We came to St. George with one goal in mind and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but very reachable,” said Cruz, who went on to thank his coaching staff. “We had a great, hard week preparing ourselves for the game. I’m very proud of how obedient those group is and (how) respectful (the players were) with our decisions and game plan for them. We played for each other and all 23 players were able to see the field, and the results of it was amazing for us. This group of boys played well from the beginning and it carried on throughout the whole game under very hot weather.”
Meanwhile, this is the second time in the past eight days the Riverhawks have made the five-plus-hour trek to southern Utah and have left with a playoff victory. Tate Godfrey and Jackson Hulse buried penalty kicks in the opening half for Ridgeline and head coach Dale Buchanan felt both were “warranted.”
Ridgeline standout keeper Riley Garvert denied Dixie on a shot from the penalty spot midway through the second half to preserve the shutout — his sixth of the season.
Up next for Ridgeline is Mountain Crest in Monday’s second semifinal game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“This is the second trip to St. George in seven days and this team continues to grow stronger physically and mentally at the right time and in the right direction,” RHS head coach Dale Buchanan said. “Every player supports the next and we have tremendous leadership with our seniors, along with every player. They prepared very well for a tough, physical Dixie team and showed no doubts throughout the game despite another high temperature game. We are proud of the valley success with three of the four remaining teams playing on Monday and we are especially proud of this team.”