HURRICANE — Funny how time occasionally stands still at a soccer match. Like Saturday afternoon at Hurricane High School, when an 80-minute girls state playoff game was reduced to about 3 seconds — the time it took Hurricane's Nicole Woodbury's free-kick to sail high through the air and find its way from the 30-yard line to the upper right corner of the goal.
The kick broke a scoreless game four minutes into the second half, and Hurricane went on to stun Bear River, 2-0, and advance to the state 3A quarterfinals.
Following the ball the entire way, the crowd reacted to the kick almost in disbelief.
Then, with about five minutes remaining in the game, Tia Bringhurst added another goal from near the corner, and Hurricane was able to ride the 2-0 lead to the finish.
Both goalkeepers were active throughout the game, but Hurricane's Chantelle Whiting was credited with the well-deserved shutout. Two timely saves brought particularly loud roars from Tiger fans, who seemed to appreciate to the end how close the game really was.
The Tigers keyed their defense to Bear River striker Felicity Jones, who had scored the winning goal in Bear River's previous three games — and two of those came in overtime.
The home crowd collectively sighed in relief as Jones, a 3A 100-yard dash champion, glanced one shot off the goal-post and just missed wide on several occasions, any one of which could have made it a new ball game.
"We knew if we were going to win this game, we had to shut down number 9 (Jones)," said Hurricane coach Crissy Morris. "Our goalie and Allyson Duda always step up, though."
But a visibly frustrated Jones was always on the verge of scoring.
"She was really quick, and we were on edge the whole game," said Duda of Jones after guarding her the entire game. "We had to stay close to her and even double-marked her."