DRAPER — There is a common cliché in sports about besting an opponent more than once in a season. As many have put it, it is not easy to beat a team twice. The feat has often been bandied about as being rather difficult.
The Layton Lancers learned that early this year in their two region contests against the Davis Darts. The Lancers were victorious in the first contest, a game they claimed by a score of 2-1. The second bout was a different story, however, as the Darts and Lancers battled to a 0-0 tie.
In most seasons that would have been it for the Region 1 rivals. They wouldn’t have played again until 2019.
That wasn’t the case this year, however, as Layton and Davis met for a third time, this time in the 6A semifinals Tuesday night at Juan Diego High School. Rather than improved region standing or bragging rights on the line, a spot in the state championship game was up for grabs.
Needless to say, there was some pressure.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Layton head coach Tara Ferrin said. “It wasn’t hard to get up for this game, it is a rivalry. The kids were excited to be able to play Davis and we were excited to have an all-region semifinal.”
“There are always nerves when you play Davis and when you make it to a semifinal game,” Ferrin continued. “The girls were definitely nervous.”
“We all know each other so there was a lot of pressure,” Layton senior Sydnee Elmore added. “It is such a big rivalry and we just wanted to win it for our school.”
Win it they did.
Elmore netted the game’s only goal, after nearly 70 scoreless minutes, and the Lancers defeated the Darts 1-0.
“It is everything they have been working for,” said Ferrin. “We’ve talked all see about how each game was the most important game of our season and now they’ve made it to the most important of all. One more step.”
The berth in the state championship game was on the line most of the night.
Neither side was able to get much of anything going for upwards of an hour in fact, aside from a late first-half scoring chance by Davis’ Haylee Thompson. Her attempt was silenced by Layton keeper Meg Edwards, however, and the teams entered the break tied 0-0.
Things shifted in the second half, with Layton creating a couple more opportunities, thanks to a halftime adjustment.
“What we talked about at halftime was trying to create in that final third,” Ferrin said. “We wanted to play a little quicker in the give and go, rather than trying to beat them one on one.”
While the adjustment did not pay off immediately, it did.
In the 67th minute, Elmore and Atley Thompson perfectly executed the give and go, a sequence that ended with the go-ahead Layton goal.Comment on this story
“I just remember passing it to Atley and then getting it back. She’s so good at turning and I just knew I was going to get it back,” Elmore said. “All I remember is running and just kicking it in.”
Mere moments later the Darts appeared to have an equalizer when Caroline Bitner found Annie Haycock wide open on the far post. Haycock’s attempt to volley the pass in was unsuccessful, however, and 11 minutes when the final whistle tolled, Layton was victorious.
The Lancers will battle the Lone Peak Knights, winners in the other 6A semifinal, Friday evening at 4:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.