Ellie McDonald’s goal sends Butler to regional final

WICHITA, Kansas – What is tagged as the post-season redemption tour for Butler soccer was kept alive on Saturday afternoon as rookie Ellie MacDonald’s 35-yard free kick went into the nets in the 74th minute made the difference against rival Hutchinson in a 1-0 region VI. semi-final victory at the Stryker Sports Complex.

Butler (7-8 overall) not only advanced in Sunday’s regional championship game against Barton at 3 p.m., but also won his second straight game against an opponent who had the upper hand over the Grizzlies in the season fixture. regular. In Wednesday’s quarterfinal, Butler beat Cowley 2-1 after the Grizzlies lost two one-goal games to Cowley in the regular season.

Hutch handed Butler a 4-2 loss on turf to the Blue Dragons on April 10, but Saturday’s semi-final had a different outcome.

“We’ve said the word ‘redemption’ a lot, especially in this game,” said Grizzly goaltender Maggie Koster, who made a key save on a Hutch free kick minutes after MacDonald’s goal. “When we think back to that last Hutch game (in the regular season), neither of us felt like we had our best game. Everyone felt we had more to give.

“It was a great opportunity to come out today and show what we could give as we didn’t think it was our best foot. I think today we showed our best footing.

MacDonald’s goal came after Rachel Wolecki was fouled from behind by a Hutch defenseman. The ball was placed right next to the right post, parallel to the right post, which MacDonald hit a rocket with his right foot on goal. As the ball neared the goal area, Hutch defender Cheyenne Busker deflected the ball to the right corner and passed the outstretched arms of Blue Dragons goalkeeper Kambrian Colborn.

“I was just trying to get things done, because I knew (Colborn) wasn’t getting away with it,” MacDonald said. “Even if she saved it, we might have a follow-up.”

To add to the suspense after a scoreless first half, Butler had to play without head coach Adam Hunter shortly after the start of the second half, leaving the remaining tasks of the game to the assistant coach Travis Stipp.

Facing a noon kick-off, Hunter informed the team before he attended the 1:30 p.m. high school graduation ceremony of his daughter, Brooklyn, who is a senior on the undefeated football team of Circle and who’s a Butler for next season.

“I think Adam and Travis are a very close-knit bunch, so having Travis here we don’t feel like we’re missing much,” Koster said. “I think they’re pretty much the same in spirit, so we could pretty much trust what Travis has to tell us to do.”

With tournament wins over Cowley and Hutchinson, Butler will seek revenge against a third straight opponent for Barton, who inflicted a 4-0 loss to the Grizzlies two weeks ago at the BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. The Cougars (11-3-1) clinched a 2-1 semifinal victory over champion Jayhawk East Kansas City Kansas with an 88th-minute goal from Kadin Stinson.

“Every game we just want to leave everything on the pitch,” Koster said. “We know we can’t come back if we lose. What we say before every game is ultimately that it’s a game we play with our friends. I just don’t think we’re done playing with our friends yet.

NOTES: Butler retains the all-time lead in the series with 12-9 against Hutchinson. The Grizzlies improved to 5-4 against the Blue Dragons in the Region VI… post-season game…. Sunday’s championship match will mark the 11th Region VI title appearance in program history.

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