Women’s soccer: Earning their place

In a game that was critical to conference standing, the Butler women’s soccer team got a crucial 2-0 win against Horizon League foe Wisconsin-Green Bay on Sunday.

With the win, the Bulldogs (8-8-1, 3-4-0) clinched, at worst, a sixth-place finish in the Horizon League, which guarantees them a spot in the league tournament.

“We’re good enough to be in the tournament,” freshman forward Stephanie Kaylor said.  “We shouldn’t have ended our season without being in it, and we‘re relieved to have clinched a spot.”

As they have done often this season, the Bulldogs came out as the aggressors against the Phoenix (3-10-4, 1-4-2). The team’s offensive pressure would be rewarded in the match’s 19th minute.

The goal-scoring play started when Kaylor fired the ball into the box.

Photo by Maria Porter

Phoenix senior goalkeeper Maddie Drusch attempted to break up the play, but the ball deflected off her hands and into the goal to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs and Phoenix played an evenly-matched contest for the rest of the half and took the 1-0 lead going into halftime.

The Bulldogs outshot Green Bay 7-6 in the first half and tallied five corner kicks.

“We played really well from the beginning,” junior forward Katie Griswold said.  “Our team really played as a unit.”

The second half would see no letdown from Butler, as the Bulldogs took only six minutes to notch their second goal of the match.

This time, Griswold drew a foul in the box and received a penalty kick.

“I got a pass from someone and beat a player, and a girl just took me out,” Griswold said.  “It’s really nerve-wracking when you go up there, but I never make eye contact with the goalkeeper. I just pick a corner and go for it.”

Griswold converted the opportunity, and the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead with 38 minutes remaining.

Butler was able to hold off Green Bay for the remainder of the game and pick up its eighth victory of the season.

Freshman forward Elise Kotsakis led the Bulldogs with three shots, and sophomore goalkeeper Julie Burton had five saves for Butler.

The win got Butler back on track in conference play and broke a three-game losing streak. The third loss in the slide came on Wednesday against Valparaiso.

The Crusaders (8-6-3, 4-2-1) took the decision 1-0 on Wednesday to remain in third place in the Horizon League.

Butler was led by Griswold and junior Rachael Melendez, who each collected five shots.

Burton made four saves for the Bulldogs in the defeat.

The Bulldogs return to action one last time before the conference tournament when they host Loyola under the lights on Friday.

Loyola won their first Horizon League match on Sunday, with  a 1-0 victory over Youngstown State.

The Ramblers (5-10-3, 1-4-2) are battling Cleveland State for the sixth and final spot in the league tournament.

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