The Butler soccer team defeated a No. 1-ranked team for the second time this season with a 3-1 win over Hutchinson on Sunday at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex, claiming at least a share of its second straight Jayhawk Conference in the process.
“I thought we put together a strong team this season with a great returning sophomore class and we added big pieces this year. I think today was a step in the process of where we want to go,” said Butler head coach Adam Hunter.
The Grizzlies, ranked No. 3 in the latest NSCAA poll and No. 6 in the NJCAA poll, jumped ahead of the Blue Dragons by a 2-0 score in the first half, then matched a Hutchinson goal in the second half to pull off the win.
The win gives Butler a 2-1 record this season against teams ranked No. 1 in one of the two major national polls at the time of the game.
Earlier this year, Butler lost to NJCAA No. 1 Brevard (Fla.) by a 2-1 score in overtime. Butler later beat NSCAA No. 1 and defending national champion Tyler (Texas) by a 3-2 score in double overtime.
Butler dominated the first half, scoring its first in the 12th minute on a shot by freshman midfielder Morgan Foster.
The Grizzlies got their second goal when Mari Ruvalcaba scored on an assist from Simone Arthur in the 28th minute.
The Grizzles outshot Hutchinson 18-8 in the first half.
Hutchinson controlled the pace of play to start the second half, breaking through for a goal by Carolina Fernandez in the 55th minute to cut Butler’s lead in half at 2-1.
“We told our girls going into the game that Hutchinson would be reslient and that we would have to find a way to have a little resolve and we knew it would be a game of momentum shifts. The thing we had to do as a team was to focus on each player’s individual job. With all the distractions, I thought we did an excellent job of that,” said Hunter.
Butler’s final goal came in the 63rd minute. A shot by Simone Arthur was deflected by Hutchinson keeper Eunice Figueroa and Carla Daniels knocked it into the goal for the final margin.
The victory makes Butler 17-2 overall on the season, with a still-perfect 12-0 record in Jayhawk Conference action.
With one conference game left, on Wednesday at Independence, the worst the Grizzlies could do would be a tie for the championship.
“We have to get a win on Wednesday to have an outright win of the conference championship. We are in that time of the year that if you lose you are done and if we are not motivated to play at this time of the year then we are in trouble,” said Hunter.
Page 2 of 2 - The conference title is the sixth for Butler since the program’s inception in 2001 and second straight.
It also assures Butler will be the top seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament.