The Butler soccer team, ranked 11th nationally, won two more Jayhawk Conference road games in shutout fashion this weekend, beating Barton County 5-0 on Friday in Great Bend and winning 8-0 at Pratt on Sunday. Now 10-1 in conference play with only one game left, Butler is sitting in good position to finish with the top seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament.
Butler's win on Friday came less than a week after a heartbreaking loss to conference-rival Hutchinson. With everyone watching to see how the Grizzlies would recover, the team took to the field ready to show the conference their ability to bounce back. From the opening whistle Butler dominated play, maintaining a forward momentum and putting Barton on its heels. Carla Daniels (Jamaica) was the first Grizzly to find the back of the net off a ball from Stephanie Bonilla (Garland, Texas). Bonilla had her hand in the next goal as well when Abby Ponce (Oxnard, Calif.) got on the end of a well-placed corner kick. Those two goals would give Butler a 2-0 lead at half.
The second half brought more offensive production from Ponce and Daniels. Ponce finished a service from Casie Greenlee (Valley Center, Kan.) early in the half to give Butler the 3-0 lead. Ponce's goal was followed shortly by a shot from Mari Ruvalcaba (Garden City, Kan.). Ruvalcaba's shot was bobbled by the goalkeeper, but Daniels was there to clean up the mess and rack up another goal for the Grizzlies. The final goal of the match came off a service from Natausha Sanchez (Dodge City, Kan.) to Great Bend native Perla Hernandez who scored her ninth goal of the season in front of her hometown crowd.
Butler looked to continue its offensive efforts on Sunday afternoon in the final road game of the regular season when the Grizzlies traveled to Pratt. It did not take long on the windy afternoon for the Grizzlies to find the back of the net. Less than three minutes into play, Butler scored one of its best goals of the season when Ponce served a corner kick and Megan Snyder (Overland Park, Kan.) put her head on the end of it. The well placed corner and great far-post finish put Butler up 1-0 early.
The first half brought two more goals from Butler. The first was a wall pass by Alyssa Miller (Thornton, Colo.) that was finished by Daniels. The second came on a throw in by Kelsey Gresham (Wichita KS) that was finished by Sanchez.
A 3-0 half time lead was not enough to satisfy the goal-hungry Grizzlies. Miller came out in the second and found the back of the net off an unassisted shot. Butler's next two goals came from forward Aisling Dyer (Ireland). Her first goal of the afternoon came off a service from Dusti Greenlee (Valley Center, Kan.) and the next off a slotted ball from Bonilla. Butler wrapped up a 13-goal weekend with goals from Sanchez and Daniels, assisted by Hernandez and Sanchez respectively.
Mel Nuessen (Emporia, Kan.) played 180 scoreless minutes in the net saving only one shot on goal.
The Grizzlies will close out their regular season Wednesday at home verses the Independence Pirates. Being the final home game, Butler will recognize the hard work and dedication of its sophomore class before the game. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.