Butler soccer completed the regular season with another shutout over a conference opponent Sunday, as the second-ranked Grizzlies blanked Neosho County 7-0.
Butler (17-2-0 overall, 12-0-0 conference) heads into the postseason with a 17-game winning streak, which matches the second-longest win streak in the program's history. The Grizzlies outscored their conference opponents by an 86-6 margin and have won by shutout in nine of their last 10 contests.
The Grizzlies will be the top Jayhawk East seed in the playoffs and will host Dodge City in a Region VI quarterfinal game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Sophomore forward Colleen Howland led the offensive charge, scoring a career-high four goals and recording her third hat trick of the season. Howland also took over the team lead in goals scored on the season with 26. Coming into Sunday's game, Howland and sophomore Lauren Allan - who added two goals in the win - were tied at 22 goals.
Butler led Neosho 2-0 at halftime, with Howland scoring both goals for the Grizzlies late in the half. Howland scored in the 30th minute off a cross pass from Lexi Clark, then added her second goal six minutes later off a Sam Simmons corner kick and a redirected pass from Clark.
Allan opened the second-half scoring in the 49th minute, kicking backwards with her heel in front of the goal to give Butler a 3-0 lead.
Howland then added two more goals in the 55th and 59th minute. She completed the hat trick by slotting a ball just inside the left post on an assist from Ky Kreemer. Howland's fourth goal came when she charged towards the net with the ball, lost and regained possession, then put a shot off a Neosho defender into the goal.
Allan scored her second goal of the game in the 71st minute, putting a looping shot over the Neosho keeper from 13 yards out. Laurie Theis capped the scoring with her second goal of the season with three minutes left.
In her third straight start, freshman goalkeeper Elena Garcia received the win and recorded her third shutout of the season. Garcia was challenged on goal just once and faced just two shots.
NOTES: Butler remains perfect against Neosho County in the overall series, improving to 22-0-0 overall and 12-0-0 in games played in El Dorado. The Grizzlies have won the last three meetings over the Panthers by shutout... For the sixth time in the program's history, Butler completed the regular season with a perfect conference record. The Grizzlies have won 25 straight conference games, which ranks second all-time. Butler won 31 straight conference games from 2011 to 2014.