OGDEN — Goalkeeper Kelsey East had the game-winning performance of a lifetime as the Ogden Tigers defeated the No. 3-ranked Snow Canyon Warriors in a soccer shootout Saturday, after a scoreless regulation and two overtimes. East captured the win and the hearts of her teammates as she blocked three consecutive penalty kicks.
"I was so nervous. We've been practicing those every day at practice so I knew what I was getting into, but still, it was scary," East said. "After I blocked the first one though, I had more confidence in myself to block the rest."
The first Snow Canyon penalty kick went in, but East blocked the next three before riding off the field on her teammates' shoulders.
The Tigers went into Saturday's contest as the underdogs, but the victory helped prove their undefeated record was not simply the result of being in a presumed softer region.
From the moment they stepped onto the field, the Tigers dominated offensively. Despite that, had it not been a playoff match, the game would have ended in a double-overtime scoreless draw. Ogden struggled to cash in on its offensive efforts and Snow Canyon keeper Grace Walton made some exceptional saves.
"Snow Canyon gave us everything," Ogden coach Jason Steiner said. "We knew they were going to be good. We looked a little tired today, and they dominated us in the midfield."
In the first overtime, Callie Stewart had a breakaway scoring opportunity for Snow Canyon that resulted in a collision and Warrior free-kick. Cecilee Horlacher was just off target as she sent it pinging off the top of the frame.
In the second overtime, Arianna Weide earned another opportunity for the Warriors as she shook off her defender and sent one sailing over the goal. Moments later, Kiley Porter made a run for the Tigers but was unable to get the golden goal as Walton made a diving save.
In the shootout, Sarah Henderson of Snow Canyon went first and was successful, but East blocked the next three. Her teammates, Cassie Hanson, Avery Calton, and Amy Ulrich buried theirs in the net for the Tigers.
The Ogden victory marked the end of the road for Snow Canyon, which finished with an 8-2 region record.
"We had our chances," Snow Canyon coach Kenny Kunde said. "If it would have been one of those games where we didn't play well and didn't get opportunities, I would be a little more upset. But I thought the girls played well and we had three or four chances that we probably should have finished today."
The decisive match punched the Tigers' ticket to the semifinal game Tuesday, where they'll try to keep the dream alive against Park City.
"They just have to prove themselves," Steiner said. "They came through it with a shootout, and I couldn't be more proud of the girls. Nobody thinks we're going to win except for these girls. And that's special."