Omaha Skutt

North Platte's Jonathan Garcia and Omaha Skutt's Patrick Hoody battle for a header.

A lesson learned was a semifinal earned for Omaha Skutt on Wednesday.

The Class B No. 1 SkyHawks generated a pair of first-half goals, enough to distance themselves from seventh-ranked North Platte in the first round of the boys state soccer tournament at Morrison Stadium.

Skutt coach Justin Zabawa said his team adjusted its plan to the Bulldogs’ defensive tactics, which worked to perfection in an upset over defending champion South Sioux City in Saturday’s district final round.

“We knew coming in that they were going to play a more defensive style, so we worked on that in training a bit,” Zabawa said. “You saw us shooting from distance today. I told our guys that if it wasn’t working to get it in there to not be afraid to hit it.”

Skutt generated all of the offense it would need in the 10th minute when Patrick Hoody was dragged down in the box. Junior Ben Bausback converted the ensuing penalty kick for his fourth goal of the season.

The SkyHawks would add another just past the midway point of the half when Caleb Vos looped one over the head of North Platte keeper Jaden Dike.

It forced the Bulldogs to push their line higher into the attack the rest of the way.

“It wasn’t the first half we wanted,” North Platte coach Danny Whitney said. “I thought we stayed organized in the first half, but we just sat too deep. I think we just got real protective and just gave them too much space. We were winning the ball back deep in our own half and they’re very well organized and have one or two guys around the ball any chance we’d get. We couldn’t connect and couldn’t get out.”

Zabawa thought his side played “a little complacent” in the second half.

“We talked about that postgame,” he said. “You can’t play that way in the state tournament. They were one goal away from being right back into it.”

His defense limited the Bulldogs to three shots for the game for its fourth consecutive postseason shutout.

“At the state tournament that’s going to get you pretty far,” Zabawa said. “I was proud of my guys’ effort today.”

The SkyHawks advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive season.

North Platte (11-10) 0 0—0

Omaha Skutt (13-4) 2 0—2

Goals: OS, Ben Bausback, Caleb Vos.