Dawson defender Christiana Shams, left, collided with Discovery Canyon forward Andi Marchant while chasing after the ball in the first round of the 3A girls soccer playoffs at District 20 Stadium. Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE

Junior Andi Marchant scored a pair of first-half goals to set Discovery Canyon on its way to the second round of the girls’ 3A state soccer playoffs, as the Thunder held off Alexander Dawson 2-1 on Tuesday at District 20 Stadium.

Marchant gave the 11th-seeded Thunder (11-5) a 1-0 lead, scoring on Lizzie Ross’ rebound in the 12th minute, and put the Thunder up by two when she calmly scored in the top corner on a penalty kick 3 minutes before the end of the half.

Check out more photos from the game.

The Thunder will play No. 6 Coal Ridge, winners over No. 27 Bennett, on Saturday in New Castle.

Marchant only took two steps before firing the PK past Mustangs (6-9-1) goalie Ali Hinton.

“That’s just natural,” Marchant said. “I don’t think about it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

The Thunder had the majority of chances in the first half, but the second half belonged to Alexander Dawson. Last season’s state runner-up started stringing passes together and kept possession the majority of the half.

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The Mustangs finally got on the board when Carys Murphy’s floater from 35 yards beat Thunder goalie Taylor Barbato with 11 minutes to play.

“Alexander Dawson’s a good team,” Thunder coach Bill McMaster said. “They showed incredible poise, incredible teamwork. We just had to out-teamwork them and out-pass them a little bit. As our girls started winding down a little bit, (they) started capitalizing.”

Center midfielder Autumn Surage helped the defense keep the Mustangs away late. She said Dawson’s second-half surge wore down the Thunder.

“I was tired,” Surage said. “Our bench isn’t real, real deep because we’re still a new school.”

Despite the late pressure, the Thunder limited the Mustangs to three shots in the half and few scoring chances. They prevented the Mustangs from evening the score and actually had the best chance when Marchant missed a shot at a third goal with 5 minutes remaining, putting it wide despite an empty net.

“That was embarrassing,” Marchant said with a laugh. “A third goal would have been nice to know for sure we would have won and to not have to worry about it as much in the last couple minutes.”