During a team lunch just hours before his squad’s first round playoff game against Canyon View on Wednesday, Pine View head coach Sam Johnston talked about how some things will happen that will go in the Panthers’ favor — and others that won’t.
Pine View learned quickly just how true that was.
Canyon View’s McKayla Meacham sent a free kick into the box, where a flock of Falcons residedl. Following a fight for the ball in front of the net, Makenzie Culler was able to slide the ball into the net giving Canyon View an early 1-0 lead.
That lead didn’t last long. Pine View’s McKenna Plumb scored twice before halftime, and the Panthers held on for the 2-1 victory and advance to the 3A state quarterfinals against Logan, on Saturday.
“I thought they showed patience,” Johnston said of his team. “I thought they didn’t get rattled. I thought we kept doing what we do and I think the offense just came and the goals just came naturally within what we were trying to do.”
For the majority of the game, Pine View dominated possession, constantly challenging Canyon View keeper Jessica Hinck, but the Panthers couldn’t deliver the death knell.
Hinck was fearless coming out to meet balls and Pine View attackers, and made multiple saves to keep the Falcons in striking distance. With the Panthers unable to pull away, they ended up playing with fire a little at the end.
Canyon View had a corner kick with just over 13 minutes remaining and for a brief moment it looked quite similar to the play that got it on the scoreboard. The ball bounced around in the box, with Falcons frantically trying to push it into the net, but a final blast was blocked away, and Canyon View didn’t threaten again.
The win was a nice change for the Panthers, who have had a recent streak of losing in the opening round.
“It’s nice to actually move on,” Plumb said.
For Canyon View, its first state tournament in over a half decade ended quickly, but Falcons head coach Mark Comstock saw this as a good learning experience for his young team.
“For us this is a really great learning experience,” he said. “We had a nice run through Region 12 and we made the playoffs and at the end of the game there were a lot of sophomores, a lot juniors, even freshmen. I really think that it’s just something there for the future. Hopefully they’ll learn from this experience — we have a lot of good things ahead of us, next year.”
The Panthers, though, still get to worry about this year, and what else will and won’t break in their favor.
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter, @millerjryan.