FOLEY, Ala. – Butler soccer had its 2018 season come to an end Tuesday with a 3-2 overtime loss to #7 Lewis & Clark, Ill., in pool play at the NJCAA Division I Women's National Championship at Foley Sports Tourism Complex.
The Grizzlies (18-6-0 overall) held a 2-1 lead behind second-half goals from Elise Leidersten and Abby Edson, but Lewis & Clark's Boitumelo Rabale scored an equalizer from 35 yards out with just over 11 minutes to play in regulation.
With just one minute remaining in overtime, LC forward Senate Letsie netted the game-winning goal to eliminate Butler from postseason play.
Butler trailed 1-0 at halftime as the Trailblazers' Taylor Hansen scored the game's first goal in the 26th minute. Once the second half started, the Grizzlies quickly tied the match when Leidersten chipped in a saved penalty kick three minutes into the half.
After a handball in the penalty box, Trailblazer goalkeeper Mercedes King deflected Paige Achey's penalty kick upwards and off the crossbar. Leidersten came charging in from the right side to score her team-high 26th goal of the season with her right foot.
Just 10 minutes later, Butler took its only lead of the national tournament when Abby Edson headed in a ball following a deflected free kick from Anahy Guevara. Edson took advantage of the opportunity when Guevara's kick from nearly 35 yards out took a short hop right in front of King, who then popped the ball up in the air while trying to make the save. Edson then moved in to jump up and head the ball past King for the 2-1 Grizzly lead.
Rabale's equalizer came in the 79th minute after receiving the ball inside the midfield circle. After two dribbles, Rabale boasted a left-footed shot into the upper-right corner of the net, just over the outstretched arms of Grizzly goalkeeper Bethany Reeves.
Going against the wind in the first overtime, Butler had difficulty getting offensive chances before Letsie ended the match with the game-winner. LC's Audrey Andrzejewski sent a cross into the box that rolled past Kassidy Louvall, who wiffed on the shot attempt. However, the ball found its way to Letsie on the left side, who slid a shot into the right side of the goal past Reeves.
Lewis & Clark outshot Butler by a 13-8 margin and held a 4-3 edge on corner kicks. The Trailblazers also had a 6-5 advantage on shots on goal. Reeves made three saves in the contest and finished with 10 saves in two tournament games.
Butler's season ends after winning its 11th Jayhawk Conference title, a Plains District championship and making its seventh trip to nationals in program history.
NOTES: Butler is now 7-8-2 overall in NJCAA National Tournament play… For the first time in the history of the program, Butler went 0-2 in national tournament play.