TOPEKA, Kan. – The Butler women's soccer team is one game away from a trip to the NJCAA national tournament after throttling Johnson County 5-0 in the Region VI semifinals on Thursday night at Hummer Sports Park.
The Grizzlies, now 14-4-3 on the season, scored two goals in the first 18 minutes of the game and added three more in the second half in handling the Cavaliers – a team Butler needed overtime to beat 1-0 on the road just 13 days ago.
No. 13 Butler will now advance to play in tomorrow's regional championship against archrival Hutchinson. The ninth-ranked Blue Dragons (15-1-1) advanced to the title game by beating Barton 1-0 in Thursday's other semifinal.
Butler's first goal came just 12 minutes into the game when Maddie Decker hit a ball that deflected of a Johnson County defender and into the net. Six minutes later, Jaclyn Means took advantage of a miskick by a Johnson defender and put the ball in the net to put Butler up 2-0.
The Grizzlies nearly scored just before the half, but a kick by Brittney Lawrence hit the right post and bounced away.
In the second half, Lawrence did get a goal when Means and the Johnson County keeper collided going for a ball. The ball rolled to Lawrence who slammed it into the back of the net to give Butler a 3-0 lead in the 50th minute.
In the 72nd minute, Madison Zimmer carried the ball into the box and passed to a trailing Kennedy Johnson, who slotted the ball to give Butler a 4-0 lead. The final goal of the game came with just over a minute to play on a ball by Amy Strath that crossed the face of the goal and found the side netting.
The regional championship game will be the fourth straight for Butler and the eighth in the 13-year history of the program. Butler is 4-3 in Region VI titles games, with a 1-2 record against Hutchinson in those games.