ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. – In a quick span of three minutes and seven seconds, Butler soccer saw its postseason dreams continuing to being eliminated all together with a 2-1 Region VI semifinal loss to Cowley on Friday afternoon at the Arkansas City High School Sports Complex.
The Grizzlies (12-6-1 overall) held a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Rachel Wolecki goal in the eighth minute and played solid defense to keep Cowley off the scoreboard.
However, a key foul on Butler inside the 18-yard box with 2:02 remaining in regulation presented Cowley with a penalty kick opportunity. Cowley's Manuela Oliveira took the kick and scored the equalizer, putting a ball just off the inside right post for the goal.
Just 65 seconds into overtime, Cowley scored the winning goal by getting a breakaway up the middle. Carla Ruiz assisted on the ball, feeding Natalia Lima a pass for the game-winner to send the Tigers to the NJCAA Plains District Tournament, which begins on Nov. 6 in Wichita. Cowley, who won its first-ever Jayhawk East title this season, will be making its first postseason appearance in district play.
Wolecki's goal came 8:33 into the opening half, as she blasted a 40-yard shot with the right foot into the net. The Grizzlies failed to extend the lead, as two shots banged off the post in each half.
The loss marks the second time in three seasons Butler has lost in the Region VI semifinals. The Grizzlies made six straight trips to the NJCAA National Tournament before having the postseason streak ended with a Region VI semifinal loss to Cloud County in 2017. Butler returned back to the national tourney last year and lost a pair of one-goal games in pool play.