TOPEKA, Kan. - The Butler women's soccer team clinched its fourth consecutive trip to the NJCAA National Tournament on Saturday with a 3-1 Region VI title victory over #9 Hutchinson at Topeka's Hummer Sports Park.
With the win, #13 Butler (15-4-3 overall) also won its third straight Region VI title and fifth in the program's history.
Hutchinson (15-2-1), the KJCCC regular season champion, defeated Butler in the Oct. 17 meeting in El Dorado with a 2-1 victory in overtime. However, the Grizzlies gained revenge against the Blue Dragons, but needed to overcome playing against a 25 mph north wind and a 1-0 deficit early on.
Hutch's Courtney Boswell scored the first goal of the contest in the fifth minute, when she headed in a corner kick from Jen Rogers to give the Blue Dragons the lead.
Butler managed to score the equalizer in the 12th minute on what was intended to be a pass. Sophomore Madison Wedekind booted a high-arcing ball for freshman Jaclyn Means towards the left side of the goal, but the wind pushed it in front of the net. The ball went into the goal off the hands of Hutchinson keeper Jennifer Currie, who leaped just in front of the crossbar in a failed deflecting attempt.
Butler took the lead in the 79th minute when Means blasted a right-footed shot from 25 yards out. Means took a pass from Erika Gurnsey, then rocketed a shot towards the left corner of the goal past a diving Currie.
The Grizzlies added an insurance goal in the 85th minute as Brittney Lawrence took a long pass from Kelly Sutton and broke away from the Hutchinson defense, leaving a 1-on-1 opportunity with Currie. Lawrence slotted a left-footed shot to the right of Currie into the goal for the final tally.
Butler outshot Hutchinson 14-11, with both teams getting six shots on goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsi Langley made five saves and allowed just one goal in the win.
Butler, winners of six straight games, now advances to the NJCAA National Tournament in Melbourne, Fla., which will be held from Nov. 17-22. The opponent and times have yet to be determined.
Notes: The Grizzlies are now 5-3 in Region VI title games... Butler is 2-2 against Hutchinson in Region VI finals... Butler now leads the overall series 9-8-0 vs. Hutchinson... The Grizzlies have now won 15 or more games in each of the last seven seasons... In Region VI post-season play, Means has scored four of Butler's 10 goals... The current six-game winning streak is the longest of the season for Butler.