Bulldogs Open 2009 Men's Soccer Season At IPFW

Bulldogs Open 2009 Men's Soccer Season At IPFW

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SEASON OPENER:  Butler will begin the 2009 men’s soccer season on the road with a short trip to Fort Wayne.  The Bulldogs, coming off their most successful season in nearly a decade, will face IPFW in a non-league match on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the Hefner Soccer Complex.  The season-opener is slated for 7 p.m. (ET).  Butler head coach Kelly Findley has eight starters back from last year’s 13-3-4 squad, which finished second in the Horizon League and posted a “Top 25” national ranking.  The Bulldogs’ 13 wins were the most by a Butler team since 2004 and tied the fourth-highest win total in school history.  Butler broke into the national soccer polls at midseason last year and reached as high as No. 21 in late October.  Following the IPFW opener, the Bulldogs will return to Indianapolis to host their first home match against Xavier on Sunday, Sept. 6.  That match will be played in the Butler Bowl, starting at 5 p.m. (ET).        

Butler is 2-0-1 in season-openers under head coach Kelly Findley.
SPLIT DECISION:  Butler came away with one win and one loss in two preseason exhibition matches in August.  The Bulldogs defeated 2008 NCAA Tournament participant Dayton, 2-0, in a weather-shortened match at home on August 19, but then dropped a 1-0 decision at Eastern Illinois on August 25.  Freshman Tyler Pollock provided the game-winner against Dayton with a header just 23 minutes into the match.  Julian Cardona, another freshman, added an insurance goal late in the second half.  The match was called with just over six minutes remaining because of lightening.  One week later, the Bulldogs played Eastern Illinois to a scoreless deadlock for nearly 60 minutes, before the host Panthers tallied the lone goal of the contest.    

FIRST DEFENSE:  Much of Butler’s success in 2008 can be traced to a rock-solid defensive effort that produced a school-record ten shutouts.  The Bulldogs allowed just 16 goals in 20 matches, also a school record, and head coach Kelly Findley returns his entire back line this season.  Leading that group are a pair of All-Horizon League performers, senior goalkeeper Nick Hegeman and sophomore defender Matt Hedges.  Hegeman recorded seven shutouts and a 0.77 goals against average in 2008, and he was named second team All-League.  Hedges started all 20 Butler matches in his initial season with the Bulldogs, and he was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer team.  Those two are joined on the back line by senior Kyle VondenBenken and juniors Conner Burt and Brett Heinz.  All three started all 20 matches a year ago.

Butler set a school-record for goals against average (0.76) in 2008.

ASSIST CHART:  Senior Boris Gatzky enters his final season with the Bulldogs needing just two assists to move into a tie for tenth place on Butler’s all-time assist chart.  Gatzky, who transferred to Butler from Gardner-Webb two years ago, finished second on the team with six assists last year, and he has 13 assists for his Butler career.  Valentino Scicluna, 1994-97, currently stand tenth on Butler’s all-time list with 15 assists. 

BULLDOG BITS:  Two members of the Butler men’s soccer team, juniors Matt Sall and Jacob Capito, spent the first week of August in Jamaica on a medical trip with the Butler Intercollegiate YMCA.  The two worked alongside doctors and nurses at the main hospital in Mandeville, and also at an orphanage that houses 85 children.  Both players are pre-med majors...Goalkeeper Nick Hegeman stands sixth on Butler’s all-time list for shutouts with eight.  He’s currently tied for second on the Bulldogs’ all-time list for goals against average (1.06)...Butler tied for ninth in the NCAA Division I in winning percentage (.750) in 2008.