October 10, 2011

Butler beats Hesston but falls to Hutch

Butler (12-2-1, 8-1) goes 1-1 on the weekend and maintains the #1 Region VI ranking.

The Grizzlies weekend began at Hesston Community College in a Region VI match up verse the Lady Larks. Perla Hernandez (Great Bend KS) and Natausha Sanchez (Dodge City KS) made their presence known early in the game when Hernandez slipped a ball to Sanchez who found the back of the net. Sanchez put her name in the book again less than five minutes later with a ball to Carla Daniels (Jamaica). Daniels finished a clean breakaway to put the Grizzlies up 2-0 early. Butler settled into the game and continue to find seams in the lark defense. Hernandez scored the third goal on a Megan Snyder (Overland Park KS) assist. Daniels, assisted by Dusti Greenlee (Valley Center KS), lit the board again to take the score to 4-0 with only minutes left in the half. Despite the Butler dominance the Lars continued to press. Their pressure was rewarded when a Butler defender took down a Hesston player and the referee issued a penalty kick making the score 4-1. Fired up after conceding, Butler took the kick off and found the back of the net with 2 seconds left in the half. The goal from Aisling Dyer (Ireland) to Greenlee made the halftime score 5-1.

The second half brought less offense production but continued dominance by Butler. They would net only one goal in the 45 minute half. The goal came from Hernandez off a cross from Stephanie Bonilla (Garland TX). The goal was enough to take Butler to a 6-1 win. Mel Nuessen played 90 minutes in the net recording 2 saves.

With a quality win under their belt, Butler turned their attention to Sunday's re-match of the 2010 Region VI Finals against Hutchinson Community College. The game would be Butler's biggest regular season game of the year.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, both teams took the field in Hutchinson KS to do battle. There is no denying that blood runs hot between the two teams and the game would be a physical test of wills. The Blue Dragons challenged early in the game using their size advantage to win balls in the air and quickly counter the Butler defense. It looked as if butler would concede the first goal when Mel Hetherington broke through the Butler backline and went one verses one with Grizzly goalkeeper Aisling Dyer (Ireland). However, Dyer made a huge save denying the early lead and keeping Butler spirits high. The rest of the half would go back and forth with both sides controlling chunks of play. Finally in the 30th minute, Megan Snyder (Overland Park KS) found a window of opportunity and hit a ball from the top of the box. Her looping shot would beat the goal keeper on the far post to put Butler up 1-0 going into half time.

Again Hutch came out hard in the second half. With the hometown crowd cheering them on them dominated the opening minutes of the half, throwing numbers forward into the Butler defense. It looked as if they would knot the score when Dyer missed judged a cross and the goal was left open. Sophomore defender Mandi Roan (Dallas TX) was not ready to let down. She recovered to the back post and cleared out the Blue Dragon shot with her head. Despite the defensive effort and continued defensive pressure, the Grizzlies conceded their first goal of the game ten minutes into the half when the referee called a handball in the box. The penalty kick was finished by Pearl Slattery tying the score at 1-1.

As the field continued to deteriorate in the rain both teams pressed for the win. Shots and saves came from both teams with neither seeming to dominate the play. With less than fifteen minute in regulation, Hutch's Mel Hetherington scored what would be the game winning goal. She capitalized on a poor clearance by Dyer to finish the ball on an empty net taking the score to 2-1. Butler continued to fight for the rest of the half throwing numbers forward into the bunkered Blue Dragon defense. Even with seconds left in the game the Grizzlies pressed and created opportunities. Despite their best efforts, when the final whistle blew the score remain 2-1 in Hutch's favor.

The loss would be only Butler's second of the season and first in KJCCC play. With a chip on their should, Butler will look to finish their final 3 conference games strong. Winning out the season will solidify the #1 Region IV ranking and put the Grizzlies in good post season position.

The Grizzlies will be back in action Friday October 14 at Barton. Kickoff is set for 4:00 PM.