EL DORADO – The Hutchinson Community College women’s soccer team’s run toward a fourth-straight Jayhawk Conference championship was dealt a serious blow on Sunday as rival Butler defeated the Lady Dragons 3-1 in the biggest Jayhawk Conference game of the season between two of the elite programs in the nation.
NJCAA sixth-ranked Butler clinched the No. 1 seed for the Region VI tournament and a tie for the Jayhawk Conference championship with the victory over the NJCAA No. 1-ranked Lady Dragons. Hutchinson can still tie for the conference title with a victory on Wednesday at Dodge City and if a heavily favored Grizzly team would slip up on the road at Independence on Wednesday.
The loss snapped many significant streaks for the Lady Dragons:
+ HCC saw a five-game winning streak over the Grizzlies snapped.
+ The Lady Dragons allowed three goals in one game for the first time since Oct. 11, 2008, a span of 77 games.
+ This was the first loss to a Jayhawk Conference team on the field in 36 regular-season games. HCC had to forfeit a win to Allen last season.
+ This was the first regular-season loss, on the field, in the past 50 games.
+ This is also the first time in 77 games that the Lady Dragons lost by more than one goal.
Sunday’s game was the 150th game in Lady Dragon soccer history. It was only the 11th time ever the Lady Dragons have allowed three or more goals in a game.
Hutchinson’s four-week run as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team will also likely end. The new poll comes out on Wednesday.
For the first time this season, the Lady Dragons were out-shot by an opponent. Butler (17-2, 12-0) out-shot Hutchinson 29-13 and 14-7 in shot on goal. HCC (13-1, 11-1) gave up as many goals on Sunday as it has allowed in the first 13 games of the season.
Butler’s defense did something no other opponent has done this season. That’s shut out HCC’s dynamic scoring duo, Danielle Sheehy and Melissa Hetherington. Sheehy, the nation’s leading scorer, had a couple of good scoring chances but couldn’t convert. She put only 1 of 4 shots attempted on goal. Hetherington shot five times with three on goal.
The Grizzlies put the Lady Dragons on an uphill climb early when a poor HCC clearing attempt led to an unassisted goal by Morgan Foster in the 13th minute. Butler made it 2-0 in the 28th minute when Mari Ruvalcaba scored.
Early in the second half, HCC cut into the Butler lead when freshman Carolina Fernandez scored from a Jamie Smith assist in the 55th minute.
But after that goal, scoring chances disappeared for Hutchinson, which was out-shot 13-5 in the second half. The Lady Dragons had just two shots on goal in the final 45 minutes.
The Grizzlies scored an insurance goal when a scramble in front of HCC sophomore goalkeeper Eunice Figueroa led to an unassisted goal by Butler’s Carla Daniels in the 64th minute.
Figueroa had a career-high 13 saves on Sunday. That was the third-most saves in a game by an HCC goalkeeper in team history. It was the first time since Carly McArthur in 2007 that a Lady Dragon goalkeeper made 10 or more saves in a game.
Butler goalkeeper Aisling Dyer had to made six saves.
The Lady Dragons will close out the regular season on Wednesday at Dodge City before playing host to a Region VI opening-round game next week at the USD 308 Athletic Complex.
GAME NOTES – Only Carly McArthur’s 15 saves vs. Johnson County in 2005 and Ashley Perez’s 14 saves vs. Johnson County in 2005 has had more saves in a game than Eunice Figueroa. … Each team committed 11 fouls. HCC was whistled for just one foul in the first half, but 10 in the second half. … Despite the loss, HCC still leads the all-time series with Butler 7-5.
(HCC Sports Information)