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Butler Beats Darton to Advance to Friday's Semifinals

Nov. 21, 2013 - After two agonizing games that went to penalty kicks — one a loss and one a victory — Butler Community College wasted little time in winning Thursday's tiebreaker to advance to Friday's NJCAA Women's Division I Soccer National Championship semifinals.

Freshman Brittany Lawrence beat Darton sophomore goalkeeper Hong Tran with a low shot into the right corner of the net after just 7 minutes and 33 seconds of their tiebreaking game for a 1-0 victory and a berth in Friday's 8 p.m. semifinal against Navarro College.

Top seed Iowa Western meets seventh-seed Laramie County Community College in the 5 p.m. semifinal. Both games will be played on Eastern Florida State College's Melbourne Campus.

Butler was forced into the three-way tiebreaker with Darton State College and Owens Community College after the three teams played each other even in three games decided by shootouts.

Fourth-seeded Darton beat ninth-seeded Owens on penalty kicks on Monday. Owens beat Butler on penalty kicks on Tuesday and Butler beat Darton on penalty kicks in the pouring rain on Wednesday. Since the outcomes exhausted all the tie-breaking procedures Thursday's games were made necessary.

And it shouldn't come as a surprise that Darton and Owens, who played first on Thursday by virtue of Butler winning's Wednesday coin-toss, went to penalty kicks with Darton winning 3-1.

Each team had a chance in the first 10-minute session between Owens and Darton but could not convert.

Owens had the better of play in the first session. Darton started strong in the second session but the momentum then swung back and forth. And once again, things went to penalty kicks where Darton prevailed 3-1, avenging Monday's penalty-kick defeat to Owens that set the entire tie-breaking procedure in motion.

Darton keeper Tori Danchak, who stepped in to the shootout for starter Hong Tran, watched Kendyl Christian's shot go wide right, blocked Jessica Grindle's attempt, surrendered a shot to Jill Burkholder and then watched Haley Kreger go wide right.

Lacey Webb, Lyana Perez and Shanese Bowen were successful for Darton with Megan Thomas missing high.

Bowen's shot clinched it for Darton.

There was no such drama between Butler and Darton.

After an opening seven minutes of back and forth play, Lawrence took the ball, executed what head coach Adam Hunter described as a next level turn and beat the lone Darton defender on her back and Tran.

The final four appearance is the first in Butler's women's soccer history.

"Brittany took the instructions we tried to give her throughout the week, throughout the season and made a great turn," Hunter said.

"The finish was good but the turn to get away from the defender was next level. It put the game away nice and early which is what we were hoping for. We didn't want to go to penalties again as I'm sure Darton didn't either.

"We wanted to do everything we could not to get to penalties. We wanted to go forward, go forward, go forward. You could tell from the beginning we had migrated the game into their end."

For her part Lawrence downplayed her effort.

"I didn't even know what was going through my head," she said. "I just knew we had to score so I tried my best. I knew there was just one defender on my back.

"As soon as I got away I knew I had to put it in the corner and I did that. That's what I've been trying to do this whole tournament and I finally got on the ground and in (her) left corner. I was happy about that."

Lawrence said Butler didn't get frustrated with the way the week unfolded and to the contrary remained confident.