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No. 13 Express Women's Soccer Upsets No. 5 Butler Thanks to Theaker's Final Goal in PKs
 November 20, 2013

By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information

Melbourne, Fla.---The No. 13 Express women's soccer team saw a familiar scenario play out in the second game of pool play at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) D-I National Tournament against No. 5 Butler (KS) Community College today.

However, this one ended with the Express getting the victory in penalty kicks.

Jessica Grindle (Northwood/Northwood, Ohio) scored on a corner from Jill Burkholder (Bryan/Bryan, Ohio) with just under four minutes remaining in the first half to give the Express a 1-0 lead.

In that half, the Express held Butler without a shot on goal, and it marked the first time all season Butler had that happen to them. In fact, Butler's Morgan Foster came into the came leading the nation in goals scored with 43. She was held without a goal until the penalty kick session. 

In the second half, Butler's Brittney Lawrence found the net for her team in the game's 53rd minute to tie it up.

Following that, each team had their chances. Butler had two late corners, but was stuffed both times. Additionally, Express goalkeeper Erika Brinkman (Kalida/Cloverdale, Ohio) made several nice saves down the stretch to send her team to PKs for the second straight game.

This time, however, the Express came out on top to stay alive in their hopes of advancing to the NJCAA D-I Final Four. 

Foster scored to put Butler up 1-0 before Kendyl Christian (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) answered right back to open the extra session. That's when Brinkman dove to her left and saved a shot by Lawrence to give the Express a chance to take the lead. Grindle, however, was also stopped in the second set of PKs and it remained tie at one.

Following that, Burkholder and Haley Kreger (Bedford/Bedford Township, Mich) scored for the Express, while Butler's Maddie Decker and Paige Thompson scored - sending it to the fifth round of PKs.

Butler's Korrie Rainey then attempted to go top middle, but banged it off the crossbar to set up Elizabeth Theaker (Maumee/Maumee, Ohio), who sent the ball into the top left corner of the net to gave the No. 13 Express their first national tournament win in program history.

"Walking up there wasn't like anything was different than it was yesterday," Theaker said."I just kind of did the same thing except for the shot. I knew that they watched us take those PKs yesterday. She jumped left, I kicked right, well, my left."

Grindle's goal was her 23rd this season, and it was her 29th career goal. It was her fourth goal of the postseason and her second in the national tournament.

Burkholder's assist was her eighth of the season. On the other side, Butler's Lawrence scored her 28th goal of the season. 

With the win, the Express are now 18-3 this year, while Butler falls to 21-3.

"These girls have been the same way all year long," said Express women's soccer head coach Mary Whisler. "They never give up. They never have, they never will. I couldn't ask for a better group. It's a great feeling to be here and to show that we belong."

Tiebreaker Scenarios

With the penalty kick session win, the Express are 0-0-2 in the tournament, but have secured three points (two for today's penalty kick win and one for yesterday's penalty kick loss). The other two teams in their pool, Butler (0-0-1, one point) and Darton State (0-0-1, two points) will play at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

The Express need Butler to win in penalty kicks to create a tiebreaker situation. Any regulation outcome in either team's favor tomorrow eliminates the Express, while a Darton penalty kick win would give them four points and advance them.

Should Darton and Butler tie 1-1 in regulation with Butler winning in PKs, it would create a virtual three-way tie. There would then be games played on Thursday between all three teams. The games would consist of two 10 minute overtime sessions followed by a penalty kick session if necessary. One team, via coin flip, would receive a bye, while the other two would play first. The winner of that plays the team that got the bye for the right to move on.

Should Butler and Darton tie 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, etc. in regulation and Butler wins, the Express will advance due to have only given up two goals in regulation.

The winner of the pool advances to the NJCAA D-I Final Four this weekend.


No. 5 Butler had gone 12 straight games with at least three or more goals this season. The Express held them to one goal for only the third time this season.

In the penalty kick session, the player that scored for each team in regulation (Grindle, Owens and Lawrence, Butler) were both stopped in their shot attempts.

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