OGDEN — If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times — it is difficult to beat a team three times.
The Ogden Tigers found out just how true that cliché is Saturday afternoon at the Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex.
The Tigers, the No. 1 overall seed in the 4A state tournament, were tasked with defeating the No. 8 Stansbury Stallions for the third time this season, only this time in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Ogden had handily defeated Stansbury in the two prior meetings by a combined score of 9-1, and that margin of victory suggested an easy, runaway win for the Tigers.
The result Saturday was anything but.
Ogden defeated Stansbury 1-0, powered by a single first half goal by junior Abby Beus.
It was the closest game for the Tigers since their 3-1 victory over Cedar Valley on Oct. 2 and the team’s most closely contested victory, by goal differential, this season.
“It is hard to beat a team three times,” Ogden head coach Skylar Stam said. “I don’t know why. If you figure it out you can tell me. They (Stansbury) played hard. They worked hard.”
That is not to say the Tigers didn’t.
Before the game, Stam urged her team not to give the Stallions even an inch, and the Tigers took Stam’s words to heart.
Ogden was the dominant side all day long, whether it be in time of possession or shots on goal.
The only thing the Tigers didn’t excel at was shot-making.
Ogden attempted 18 legitimate shots and of those, only three went wide of the goal posts, another over the crossbar.
Of the 14 shots that were on frame, only one, Beus’ score in the 15th minute, found the back of the net.
Stansbury goalkeeper Ainsley Thurber was partially to blame for the poor scoring output of the Tigers, as well as Stallions centerbacks Rylie Klenk and Bethany Johansen, who for every Ogden shot on goal prevented at least another two from testing Thurber.
Fault also lay with the Tigers themselves, who simply weren’t their usual finishing selves.
“We didn’t finish as well as we could have today,” said Stam.
Still, the coach couldn’t have been more pleased with her team overall.
“We moved the ball around very well today,” she said. “They ran circles today, which is what we worked on so I can’t complain.”
Behind much of the Tigers’ ball movement was a trio of midfielders, namely Alysia Butters, Brynn Soelberg and Mackenzie Kalista.
It wasn’t exactly a surprising development, as those three have been catalyst’s for Ogden’s success all season long.
“They are very strong,” Stam said. “A very strong midfield. They do well together; they defend well together. If you get through our front line, good luck getting through our midfield.”
Also instrumental in the victory was the Tigers’ attack, namely Beus, Kadrey Howell and Victoria Kalista.
The trio put near constant pressure on the Stansbury defense, from the opening whistle to the final whistle.
Beus, in particular, made such an impact that Stam switched her from the right wing to the left wing after the first half, in an attempt to balance the Tigers’ attack.
“I don’t do it that much, but every now and then I do switch things up,” Stam said of the adjustment. “Maybe (a player) is getting gassed and the ball is staying on their side, so swapping things around gives different looks to different people. That’s why I switched them (today). I don’t know if Abby gets tired, but it was just to give a different look with different plays.”
While the adjustment didn’t lead to another Ogden goal, it also didn’t hurt the cause.
“They played really well,” Stam said. “Played hard and moved the ball really well. We won, and that is all we needed to do.”
Up next for the Tigers is a semifinal showdown with No. 4 seeded Green Canyon on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Jordan High School.
The Wolves, who finished the regular season second in Region 11 behind the Ridgeline RiverHawks, defeated the Cedar Valley Aviators 4-0 in quarterfinal action Saturday.