Loss to Monroe eliminates Butler soccer from national tourney

Loss to Monroe eliminates Butler soccer from national tourney

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A single loss after 21 consecutive victories has brought the 2016 Butler women's soccer season to a close at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.

Monroe's Elini Markou, also a member of the Greek National Team, scored all three goals for the Tribunes in a 3-1 win over the Grizzlies on Wedneday at Eastern Florida State.

"We didn't stop their best player," Butler coach Adam Hunter said. "We made two critical errors, leaving her free on the corner kick and on the third goal with the missed pass back and she punished us for it.

"She made us pay for our mistakes. She's too good a player to give her those opportunities."

With the loss, Butler's season ends as 21-3. The Grizzlies were undefeated Jayhawk East Conference champions, Region VI champions and reached the national tournament for the sixth straight year.

The Grizzlies shut out Cape Fear 3-0 in the opening round of the tournament, but found themselves stymied offensively by Monroe on Wednesday.

The Tribunes scored just seven minutes into the game off a corner kick as Markou lept into the air and headed the ball into the side netting.

Later in the half, a Butler handball in the box resulted in a penalty kick. Markou took the penalty and blasted a shot into the net, putting Monroe up 2-0 in the 24th minute.

Butler answered back five minutes later with its only goal of the match. Colleen Howland received a pass near midfield, outran a defender and cut in toward the goal, slotting a ball inside the far post to make it a 2-1 contest in the 29th minute.

Monroe would score its final goal just moments into the second half, as Markou placed a shot in the upper right corner of the net, making it 3-1 in the 47th minute.

Butler is now 7-6-2 in its six national tournament appearances and is 1-1 against Monroe, having defeated the Tribunes 1-0 in the 2011 tourney.

The sophomore class ends their Butler careers with a 42-6 record, two Region VI Championships, two Jayhawk Conference titles and two NJCAA National Tournament appearances - including a Final Four finish in 2015.