For the second consecutive season, the Butler soccer team has qualified for the NJCAA Division I national tournament to be played in Melbourne, Fla., in November.
Butler, ranked fourth nationally, is headed to the tournament after winning the Region VI tournament by defeating No. 8 Hutchinson by a 2-1 score on Sunday at Hummer Sports Park.
It is Butler's first Region VI championship since 2004 and third in the 11-year history of the program.
As Region VI champions, Butler is also automatically the NJCAA District B champion and gets an automatic bid to the national tournament.
The regional title game was an intense matchup between the two top teams in Region VI.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Topeka, Butler fell behind early when the Grizzlies had a defensive miscue that allowed Hutchinson forward Danielly Sheehy a one-on-one opportunity with Butler goalkeeper Aisling Dyer.
She passed the ball to teammate Melissa Hetherington who slotted the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead just eight minutes into the game.
The Grizzlies had several chances to score in the first half but were repeatedly stoned by Hutchinson keeper Eunice Figueroa.
It wasn't until the 41st minute that Butler's Morgan Foster was able to launch a shot that nestled into the net just under the crossbar to tie the game.
Neither team was able to score in the second half until Hutchinson was whistled for a foul inside the 6-yard box with 15 minutes to play.
Butler's Aisling Dyer took the penalty kick for Butler, sliding it on the ground past Figueroa for the game-winning goal. Butler's defense held for the final 15 minutes to secure the win.
The Grizzlies are now 21-2 on the season and have won 18 consecutive matches, including an undefeated record as Jayhawk Conference champions. The 21 wins ties a program record for wins in a season.
Last year's national tournament team finished the year 21-4-1.