Marchbanks finds scoring touch

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Dixie State University’s sophomore midfielder Megan Marchbanks played much bigger than her 5-foot-2-inch frame Monday afternoon.

Marchbanks scored the golden goal just minutes into overtime as DSU defeated Chaminade University 4-3.

The Red Storm put themselves on the scoreboard in the 24th minute with a goal from junior forward Kimberly Thurman, assisted by junior defender Mindi Beckstrom.

 Dixie kept the ball in Chaminade territory throughout the game, consistently earning opportunities at goal.

Head coach Kacey Bingham praised the defense for keeping the Silverswords behind midfield.

“I think we did a good job possessing the ball,” Bingham said. “I also feel like our forwards never stopped fighting up top to find a goal.”

Chaminade struggled to gain meaningful possession in the second half as Marchbanks converted mistakes into goals for DSU.

“I think Megan had a standout game,” Bingham said. “She scored two important goals for us tonight, including the game winner. If she can continue to put away goals for us, our front line will be extremely dangerous.”

The Red Storm were coming off an impressive victory Saturday against Hawaii Pacific University.

The Red Storm punished HPU with two goals early in the second half by Thurman and Marchbanks. The two goals proved to be the difference as DSU defeated the Sea Warriors 2-0.

The two teams were at a scoreless draw going into halftime. DSU came out of the locker room strong, with Thurman scoring an unassisted goal just 22 seconds into the half. She dribbled the ball 30 yards before beating the keeper with a great shot for her second goal of the season.

Head coach Kacey Bingham said the Red Storm performed well to begin the game but couldn’t get any good efforts at goal the rest of the first half. She said she was pleased with the second half performance by her team.

“It’s all about the mentality of getting to goal and being hungry to score,” she said. “I think we definitely came out with that in the second half.”

Only minutes after Thurman’s goal, Dixie struck again when Marchbanks controlled a beautiful pass from junior midfielder Ashley Wade. She took a soft touch and let a powerful shot loose that found the back of the net from 24 yards out. The stunning goal was the first of the season for Marchbanks.

“That [shot] was beautiful,” said Danica Pickett, a senior communication major from Las Vegas. “She was at a hard angle from that side, and, somehow, she got it in.”

Pickett led the strong defense for the Red Storm, holding the Sea Warriors to just four shots in the second half, none of which gave the DSU goalkeepers any trouble.

Pickett, the lone senior on the squad, has assumed the leadership role to help Dixie exceed expectations.

“I want the girls to know that this isn’t going to be a building year,” Pickett said. “We’re here to win and do our best.”

DSU continues a pivotal stretch in the schedule against Brigham Young University-Hawaii Thursday before finishing the home stand against Hawaii-Hilo University Saturday.

“Every game is important to us, but at home we have to take advantage of being able to play on our field,” Bingham said.

Bingham said the key to being successful from this point forward is attacking harder to start games.

“We always need to try to come out and score early goals,” she said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with all season, so we’re going to continue to focus on that.”

With the victories, the Red Storm improved to 4-1 in PacWest play this season. 

DSU will host BYU-Hawaii Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Hansen Stadium.