#4 Butler stayed ahead in the KJCCC standings with a 3-1 victory over Cloud County Sunday afternoon. The win takes the Grizzlies to 11-1-1 overall with a 8-0 conference record. With only 5 conference matches to play, Butler will look to remain on top or the leader board.
In front of a large home crowd, the Grizzlies took the field prepared for a quality game against the strong Cloud side. For the first fifteen minutes of play there seemed to be mo clear advantage for either side. Both teams had quality looks at the goal, but neither was able to get a clean shot off. Cloud threatened early off a corner kick. Cloud's size advantage in the box made them a threat for Butler on set pieces. The service was taken out of the air by a Cloud player and fired on frame. Aisling Dyer (Ireland) who has not been in the goal for the Grizzlies since early in the season was there to make a point blank reaction save. That would be one of two saves made by Dyer in the first half.
With the wind in their faces, Butler hoped to relive some pressure off their backline. That relief came with thirty minutes left in the half as Casie Greenlee (Valley Center KS) got a hold of the ball in the midfield. She was able to find Carla Daniels (Jamaica) with a through ball. Daniels used her speed to break through the back line and burry the ball in the back of the net. The Grizzlies would take the one goal advantage into half time and prepare to play with the wind for the second half.
Halt time brought several personnel changes for Butler. The biggest change came between the pipes with Mel Nuessen (Emporia KS) replacing Dyer. The changes would pay off when Butler found the back of the net early in the half. Dusti Greenlee (Valley Center KS) took the ball up the flank and found Natausha Sanchez (Dodge City KS) with a ball behind the Cloud backline. Sanchez played a ball across the face of the goal to Alyssa Miller (Thornton CO) who slipped the ball past the keeper putting Butler up 2-0. After the second goal, the game continued to go back and forth. Both teams had opportunities, but Butler was dominating the majority of the play.
The tide quickly turned with twenty minutes left to play in the half. Cloud won the play on a poor Butler clearnance and immediately countered with a through ball. Nuessen charged off her line and was able to deny the first attackers breakaway, but a second Cloud attacker was their to clean up the mess and fired a shot on goal. Kelsey Garrison (Derby KS) was on the goal line and denied the goal with her shoulder. Despite Garrison's effort she was called for a hand ball in the box and issued a yellow card. She was than ejected from the game after a discussion with the center referee. Cloud was issued a penalty kick which they finished despite great effort from Nuessen in the goal. With twenty minutes to play the score was 2-1 and Butler was down a player.
Despite the adversity, the Grizzlies rose to the challenge iced the game with another goal. Perla Hernandez (Great Bend KS) scored after a great series of passes from Casie Greenlee and Alyssa Miller. The goal carried Buter to a 3-1 win and allowed them to remain at the top of the conference standings.
Butler will take the field again this Friday in a Region VI game at Hesston. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM.