With a chance to draw even closer to a Region 10 title, sophomore Jolee Irvin wasn’t scared of the moment.
After breaking the ice in the 38th minute, Irvin added two more in the first five minutes of the second half for a hat-trick, sparking the Warriors to a 4-0 win.
Irvin entered Tuesday night’s game against Cedar with five goals on the year.
“We’ve known for a long time she’s capable of this,” said head coach Connor Brown. “We’ve been looking to try and find how to get the ball to her more, how to supply her so she can get those finishes. We’ve been working on the runs she can make to get on the end of crosses, and everything just came together for her tonight.”
Snow Canyon came into Tuesday’s game at 8-1 in Region 10, with the only in-region loss coming on the road at the hands of the Reds.
Cedar beat Snow Canyon 4-3 behind two goals and two assists from the region’s leading scorer Keana Tolman.
Southern Utah commit Rylan Tebbs also added to the Cedar tally.
This time, Brown wasn’t going to let the two Cedar stars shine again.
“I think we were just aware-looking back at the Cedar game — we conceded a free kick, we conceded a soft penalty,” said Brown. “They scored in the first two or three minutes, and so those three goals I like to chalk off just as those just happen. They can go against you sometimes.”
“Tonight, our mindset was we know who’s going to score if they’re going to score — who’s going to be involved and we just knew what their game plan was. They were going to play into one of them, drag the center-back out, flick on for the other running behind in that space. We just made the girls aware of it, we talked about it at practice, and they were ready.”
Instead, it was Brown’s own budding star Irvin who set the tone.
Irvin showed poise for her first tally in the 38th minute.
With Cedar goalkeeper Cambia Simper charging way out of the box and a defender on her back, Irvin calmly tapped the ball over a sprawling Simper and into the empty cage.
“I was kind of scared going into that because you have the goalie and the defenders coming straight at you,” recalled Irvin. “Right before that, coach said ‘Go out there for another four minutes and give you all you’ve got, I need something out of you,’ and I took that to heart.”
Her second tally was a header on a cross from Millie Warner into the box. Irvin found herself open among a thicket of Reds defenders, and went up to knock in her second goal of the game.
Just three minutes later in the 45th minute, Lilly Wittwer was tripped up in the box, and Irvin capped her hat trick by burying the penalty kick past a diving Simper.
“It was a huge shift,” said Irvin. “Even after the first goal everyone had higher intensity and wanted to win that game more… “It’s an amazing feeling. Honestly, it’s the biggest accomplishment I’ve ever had.”
Freshman Lottie Smith marked the fourth goal of the night in the 67th minute.
Tuesday’s shutout win was just the second time all year that Tolman had been held off the board.
The only other game she was held scoreless was a 2-0 loss to the other contender in Region 10, Desert Hills.
Snow Canyon fended off the Thunder last Thursday, and Brown applauded his team’s effort and mental toughness in both games.
“That’s something we’ve been working on since the summer is just mental toughness: understanding how to deal with pressure and working on our mindset and mentality and mindset as we approach games and the girls have responded really well.”
Snow Canyon will search for its first region championship since 2019 on Thursday at Hurricane.
Sean Ellertson is a sports reporter for the St. George Spectrum & Daily News. To continue to support his work, please subscribe to The Spectrum. Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanEllertson.
This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Sophomore Irvin's hat-trick leads Snow Canyon girls soccer past Cedar City