Sandy • In light of how close they had come to scoring earlier, the Pine View Panthers certainly had ample reason to believe another ball would find the net in the second half.
But when a second-half goal was finally scored, in the first of Friday’s Class 3A boys’ soccer state semifinals, it came from Cedar’s Marshal Hunt with 15:32 left in the contest.
StorylinesMike Briano assists on Cedar’s first goal, then scores the second.
» Pine View has seven corner kicks to Cedar’s one, but is unable to convert on any.
The blow was decisive.
Ten minutes later, Matt Allen tallied another Cedar goal to cap a 4-1 victory in a game where the teams were separated by one score for almost 40 minutes.
Both teams are from Region 9, and Pine View (14-3-2) had won both of the prior meetings. But Cedar (12-6-1) jumped on the Panthers quickly and build a 2-0 lead within the first seven minutes of play.
"We felt like we could do this. We took on the top teams in the first two rounds, so we knew we could do it," said Cedar senior Mike Briano, who had a part in both of the opening goals.
Only three minutes in, Briano threw an inbound pass that soared toward the Pine View goal, took a bounce and ended up on the foot of teammate Brock Shipp — who shot from only a few feet away went past Panthers keeper Justin Jones.
In the seventh minute, Briano broke past the Pine View line of defense to register another score.
"The second one, I got open on a through ball. I had a shot at it," Briano said. "I was getting fouled, but I didn’t know if the refs were going to call it, so I just took it,"
Pine View got one back in the 14th minute on a goal from Michael Wade, but the Panthers had three other chances that barely missed. That included one shot from the side that rolled along the top of the crossbar before falling away.
"That was quite the hole to dig out of," Pine View coach Sam Johnston said. "I thought [a second goal] was going to come, it was just a matter of when. But they’re really strong in the front and they did their damage, just like they did to the other teams."
The backbreaker came from Hunt on a rebound shot, after an attempt from a Redmen teammate bounced back — and brought the Pine View keeper with it. Hunt’s strike bounced off the head of a Panthers defender who had raced to the front of the goal in Jones’ temporary absence.
"Matt had the ball. Something happened and it popped out," Hunt said. "The goalie was out, so I just drilled it in. I saw [the defender] and knew I didn’t have many option, so I just kicked it as hard as I could."
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