EL DORADO — It was the Barton Community College women’s soccer team that struck first against the 15th-ranked team in the country.
But that lead didn’t last in El Dorado against Butler.
That would be the only goal the Lady Cougars would score as Butler put four straight goals on the board on the way to the 4-1 win in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference action Sunday.
The loss secured the Lady Cougars will be on the road in the opening round of the Region VI playoffs later this month.
Barton is currently 3-4-1 in the Jayhawk with 10 points.
That puts the Lady Cougars in a tie for sixth place with three conference matches to play.
Barton is 6-6-2 overall. Butler, meanwhile, is among four teams with one loss or less at the top of the conference. The Grizzlies are 6-0-1 in the Jayhawk with 19 points — good for third currently. Butler is 9-3-3 overall.
“We played well at times,” Barton head coach Aaron Avila said. “We showed glimpses of how well we can play but we are just not consistent enough to beat a team like Butler at this point.”
The Lady Cougars scored in the opening minutes as Aliya Marshall used a Butler defensive error to get into a one-on-one battle with Butler goalkeeper Kelsi Langley. Marshall beat Langley and Barton led 1-0 just 2:38 into the game.
It was Marshall’s sixth goal this season.
The Lady Cougars would hold that lead for half of the opening, 45-minute period before the Grizzlies would even the game.
That came 23:23 into the half when Kileigh Vann equaled the contest on a header off a corner kick.
Six minutes later Butler had the lead for good.
This time Dalia Fernandez took a pass in the box and drilled the ball to the far post. Barton keeper Maria-Elena Garcia made a diving attempt but couldn’t get a hand on it.
The lead went to half at 2-1 for Butler, but it wasn’t long into the second half that Butler made it 3-1.
Almost as quickly as Barton scored to start the game Butler scored to start the second half. The Grizzlies Jaclyn Means scored on a rebound shot just more than three minutes into the second stanza.
Butler pushed the lead to 4-1 four minutes later as Paige Thompson knocked in a penalty kick. That would turn out to be the final goal of the contest.
Now it becomes a matter of playoff positioning for the Lady Cougars.
The top eight teams in the conference advance to the Region VI playoffs so a postseason game is not totally assured for the Lady Cougars. That would be secured with a win over Garden City Thursday.
Garden City is 2-6 in the Jayhawk and 6-7-1 overall. It will be the final home game of the season for Barton.
“We have three conference games left and will continue to work hard to improve,” Avila said.
If the Lady Cougars could win their final three contest they would have a great shot at climbing to the fifth spot in the conference.