After Tuesday’s overtime loss to Snow Canyon, Cedar needed a real pick-me-up heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
Not surprisingly, the Lady Reds got just what they needed from a familiar source.
Nicole Jenkins notched a hat trick and Cedar used three second-half goals to pull away from Hurricane on Thursday, cruising to a 5-0 home victory and a 6-2 region record.
Jenkins scored Cedar’s first two goals in the opening half and another in the second to help the Reds stay in the densely populated race for first place in Region 9 with only two games remaining.
“We just needed to stay calmer than we did in our last game,” Jenkins said. “I think we did better today staying in control. Our first two goals were perfect cross (kicks) and tap the ball in. That’s what we’ve been working on. It got the offense started and we just got better from there.”
Cedar kept the ball on Hurricane’s end of the pitch for the better part of the match as the offense and the defense worked in harmonious tandem to control the tempo.
Cedar coach Scott Kamachi said the Tigers gave them a good competition when the teams faced off two weeks ago.
“Knowing how (Hurricane) played down there, we knew we couldn’t take anything for granted because it was late in the game before we scored a goal and we only won 2-0. We knew we had to come out and play today and get some of that confidence back.”
A playoff berth is already secured but the girls know the uphill battle they face just to finish the last two regular season matches.
The Reds travel to Desert Hills – the only team currently ahead of them in the region standings – on Tuesday, then host Pine View on Thursday in the season finale.
“It’s going to be really tough,” sophomore Tasha Kamachi said. “We’re going to have to work really hard and come out and make sure we practice hard as well. If we play our game I feel like we’ll be able to get the results we want.”
Cedar already had a 2-0 lead at the beginning of the second half thanks to Jenkins, but Kamachi added a little insurance with a short shot just a few minutes into the frame.
“(Jenkins) had the ball on the outside and crossed it in,” Kamachi recalled. “The goalie hit it with her hands and it was just an easy tap-in goal for me.”
Jenkins got her third goal in minute 55 to make it 4-0 and MaKenna Clark put the last one into the net with 12 minutes left in regulation.
The final week of the season will be nothing if not interesting and Cedar has shown just how adept it has become at creating opportunities to win games.
“We have a very fast team,” Tasha Kamachi said. “If we use that speed to our advantage we can get behind the back lines and capitalize on those opportunities.”