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‘It had to be her’: Alysia Butters calmly converts penalty kick to give Ogden its first girls soccer championship since 2011

The Ogden girls soccer team celebrates after winning the 4A girls state championship 2-1 over Ridgeline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
The Ogden girls soccer team celebrates after winning the 4A girls state championship 2-1 over Ridgeline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
Colter Peterson, Deseret News

SANDY — Alysia Butters calmly walked to the penalty spot.

Moments before, Abby Beus had drawn a foul, and there was no doubt about who was going to take the penalty kick that would ultimately decide the game with just under 10 minutes remaining in the 4A championship between Ogden and Ridgeline.

It was always going to be Butters taking that penalty kick in a crucial spot.

“They all knew as soon as he pointed to the spot. They knew. She knew,” Ogden head coach Skylar Stam said. “She’s carried this team in a huge way, not just with her feet, but with her heart. It had to be her.”

As those in attendance at Rio Tinto Stadium looked on, Butters — the team’s leading goal scorer — chipped the ball to the left, past Ridgeline’s goalkeeper and into the back of the net to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

“I’ve just been the one to step up and take the PKs if we get them in the games. We’ve been practicing them and I just felt confident so I stepped up and took it,” Butters said.

Butters said she knew as soon as the ball left her foot that the penalty kick was going in.

Ogden won its first girls’ soccer championship since 2011, defeating Ridgeline 2-1.

“It’s huge. It’s been a long time since this school has fought for a state championship or even been in the state tournament. To do it on the girls’ side is huge. These girls were meant to be taken seriously and they didn’t care if anyone believed in them. They were going to make sure that everyone had to listen,” Stam said.

For Butters, a senior, the championship was made even more special because she had been playing with some of the senior class since she was in junior high school.

“It’s really nice to end it like this,” Butters said.

The Tigers drew first blood with just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Bonita Gray, who had been subbed on just 15 seconds prior, took a shot from the right side that the Riverhawks’ goalkeeper couldn’t handle as the ball squirted away from her. Gray followed her shot and was able to score.

“Instead of the keeper getting the ball out of the air, she sort of fumbled it, and I just went for it, and it went in,” Gray said.

Even after the trophy presentation, Gray was still in shock that she scored in the state championship game.

“I’m still in shock that it went in,” Gray said.

  • Watch replay: Ogden 2, Ridgeline 1

Ridgeline scored its first goal of the contest with 16 minutes left in the game to tie it up. Carly Eubanks booted a free kick from the Riverhawks’ half of the field to Abbie Kotter, who headed it forward to Tenzi Knowles, who slotted it to the right of Ogden’s goalkeeper to give Ridgeline new life.

With just 16 minutes until a potential overtime, Stam regrouped her team.

“I said, ‘No matter what happens, there’s always enough time. There’s always time. If we do it together, we’ll be fine,’” she said.

With just under 10 minutes left, Beus got behind the defense, received the pass, and made a run to the goal. After juking a Riverhawk defender, she was taken down from behind in the penalty box to set up what would be the game-winning penalty kick as Butters quickly stepped up and sent the ball to the top right corner of the goal.

After the final whistle, the celebration started as players screamed, jumped, hugged each other and cried happy tears, then took the trophy over to the student section to set off another celebration, having delivered the first girls’ soccer title to Ogden High School in eight years.

“This whole season, we’ve just been working for ourselves and not listening to what others say. We definitely deserved that top seed and I think we worked so hard for this,” Butters said.

Gray reflected on how much the team meant to her in the moments after the game, still basking in the glow of the championship.

“This team is everything. I’m not surprised that we won because all of our hard work this season, from the summer until now, and how much belief we have in each other is just incredible. It’s all of our love and bond that made us win today,” Gray said.