Former St. Al soccer stars Butler, Theriot help Jones College to NJCAA national title

Published 8:53 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jones College’s women’s soccer team was knocking on the door of a national championship for the past few years, and on Saturday it finally opened.

After reaching the national semifinals in 2020 and 2022, Jones broke through at last by beating Johnson County (Kansas) 3-0 to win the NJCAA Division II championship.

It’s the first national title for both the school, and the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference.
Among the players on Jones’ roster are Vicksburg natives and former St. Aloysius stars Bree Butler and Elizabeth Theriot.

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Butler, a freshman defender, played in 10 games this season including a first-round national tournament victory against Schoolcraft College.

“This has been a dream of mine as long as I can remember,” 16th-year Jones head coach Dolores Deasley said. “We played four games in six days and it’s remarkable what they’ve done. Just so proud of them.”

The victory over Johnson County was Jones’ third straight shutout against a Top 10 opponent as it concluded the year 17-1-1 and tied a school record for wins. The Bobcats outscored their opponents 80-6 this season.

Jones’ only loss came against Mississippi rival Holmes Community College in October, but the Bobcats avenged it by beating Holmes 4-0 in the national semifinals.

Keeper Jona Hennings posted her ninth shutout of the season in the championship game. Johnson County (18-4-2) took four shots, but none made it on goal.

Gemma Whitchurch broke through for Jones just 3:46 in for the game’s first goal.
Celine Ottah, the Most Valuable Player at the 2023 championship, made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with her fourth goal of the tournament.

Hilary Jaén capped the scoring in the 65th minute to close out the Bobcats’ 3-0 victory.