OGDEN — Ogden High girls soccer midfielder Alysia Butters scored 25 goals with eight assists this season. She had eight games with multiple goals, including a hat trick in a late-August win over Juan Diego.
Her final high school goal may arguably be the most important.
It came with 10 minutes remaining in a 4A state championship game against Ridgeline that was tied 1-1.
Junior forward Abby Beus won a penalty kick. Butters got the ball and stepped to the penalty spot.
“I hardly remember it, honestly. I remember kicking the ball but I honestly don’t remember anything before,” Butters said.
Right after the game, she said she was weirdly calm stepping up to take the kick with a chance to give the Tigers the upper hand at a crucial late stage.
She buried it in the top left corner, got mobbed by her teammates and, 15 minutes later, Ogden celebrated with the state championship trophy.
Butters is the 2019 Standard-Examiner All-Area Girls Soccer Most Valuable Player.
“She’s got a unique personality, she’s very honest and unique and genuine, and those types of things go really far on a team,” Ogden head coach Skylar Stam said.
There was a common theme all season with Ogden’s soccer games, that being that the Tigers generally controlled the midfield — even in a 3-0 season-opening loss to star-studded Syracuse.
Butters had a big part in the midfield along with holding midfielders Mackenzie Kalista and Brynn Soelberg.
But once the two outside forwards — Beus and Tori Kalista — started causing havoc with opponents’ back lines and midfields, opposing teams set their lineups in a wider formation, giving Butters a ton of real estate in the middle of the field from which to dictate games.
“I had such a good team. We passed, and I had a lot of open shots because of it,” Butters said.
Stam told a story of something Butters said at halftime during their state semifinal game against Green Canyon.
Stam said Butters spoke to the team most of halftime, telling the Tigers what they needed to do tactically to beat GC.
That was one thing Butters was also adept at, talking about opposing teams’ tactics and knowing how to play successfully against them.
In that particular game, GC played its formation very narrow, leaving Ogden’s wide forwards with a lot of space. Beus and Kalista had a hand in all three goals.
“We laughed about it later, she’s like, I’m sorry, I didn’t even — I was like, no it was perfect,” Stam said. “Listen, you guys hear us talk all the time, that’s exactly why I let — there were times at practice where I’d let them, I’d give the varsity complete control of the last 10 minutes of the session, so I’d let them run scrimmage.”
If soccer counted double assists like hockey does, it would truly indicate how many goals Butters had a hand in this year.
Many times, she unlocked the defense with a long through ball to a forward, who wouldn’t have gotten a chance to score or set up a goal had it not been for her pass in the first place.
Those passes are difficult to comprehend with the untrained eye since they involve hitting the ball to a certain space of the field where a teammate has yet to run.
Butters has been playing soccer — and she plans on playing in college — long enough where this is second nature now.
“At this point it’s kind of muscle memory but with my brain, kind of. I know where the player’s going to be and I can see the windows and I look into the space and play it where I see the space,” she said.
It sounds easy, but then you have to factor in where your teammate is going to be, where the opposing players are going to be, where they’re about to move and, sometimes, the ball is hit through an avenue that doesn’t exist until the ball actually travels through it.
Butters just made it look easy, that’s all.