Special to Lantern
Grizzlies soccer showed flashes of what this team could be capable of with 3-0 home win over Hutch on Saturday, Oct. 1. After a rough start in an eventual road win against Dodge and lackluster home wins against Garden and Neosho, the Grizzlies came out for the first time in a couple of weeks showing some speed and fire against a talented and determined Blue Dragons’ side. Grizzly forward Brooke Sullivan scored a brace, including scoring early with a calm and cool strike off the outside of her foot to thread the winning goal through a rapidly closing angle.
It was a larger crowd and a prairie sunset as Butler met the challenging Hutch team, with both teams on their toes, challenging every ball, fast and tight checking, scoring chances for both sides. A pass from midfielder Yossi Villagrana to Sullivan up close gave Brooke the chance to get the Grizzlies onto the board. Neither team relented, and the game continued tense and fast. Nonetheless, Butler took a 3-0 lead into the locker-room after the best half of soccer they have played in weeks.
Hopefully, the Grizzlies are hitting their stride. Between the speed and daring of Kenzee Godwin and Joy Ngibuini at left striker, the Grizzlies were always a threat to score. Freshman Kaitlyn Erwin’s elegant footwork broke ankles and drew the cheers of her teammates on the bench. Freshmen Logan Riley and Emma Kolbe both played a fast and hardworking game, with Kolbe netting the second goal.
The best chance of the second half was freshman Amelie Koenig, sailing across the pitch to unleash an absolute banger from 40 yards out, like a hockey slap-shot, which had Hutch goalie Olivia Felix-Cardona diving for an outstretched finger-tip deflection just to keep her side in the game. A shot like that gives the Grizzlies a long-distance threat complementing the studly in-close play of Sullivan.
Hutch never gave up, and forward Hadlie Lowe was a constant offensive threat, such that until the last minutes, Hutch was never out of the game. Defenseman Lexi Jack was gritty, and Ireland’s own Aimee Maher played solidly in the mid-field. Hutch mid-fielder Julia Dias de Souza is the most skillful player this reporter has seen on the pitch in any game this season. Though the Grizzlies won 3-0, it is possible that Butler will meet Hutch again later this season, and it would need a sharp, fast game from Butler to win.
The Grizzlies showed in the first half that they have what it takes to challenge, if they consistently play up to that level. Judging from Saturday’s victory, Coach Adam Hunter may have the team finding a new gear just in time, as the schedule will be tough from here on out. The Grizzlies It was a great game, and you should come on out! The Grizzlies will play Wednesday, Oct. 5 against KCK Blue Devils and their next home game is Saturday, Oct. 8 against Johnson County.