September 30, 2009

Butler Visits Loyola For Horizon League Match

WINDY CITY CHALLENGE:  Butler, off to a 2-0 start in league play, will travel to Chicago on Friday, Oct. 2, for a key Horizon League test.  The Bulldogs will face 2008 Horizon League Tournament champ Loyola in a 7 p.m. (CT, 8 p.m. in Indianapolis) contest at the Loyola Soccer Park.  Loyola, picked second in the league’s preseason poll behind defending regular season champ UIC, boasts eight of its top nine scorers from last year’s squad, which made a second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years.  The Ramblers (3-2-2) captured the team title at the UMKC Invitational two weeks ago, but finished the opening weekend of Horizon League play with a 0-1-1 league record.  Butler (6-1-0) opened the Horizon League slate with back-to-back victories at home over Milwaukee, 1-0, and Green Bay, 2-1.                   

Butler’s last 3-0 start in the Horizon League was in 2004.
     
SUCCESSFUL START:  The Bulldogs were the lone Horizon League team to post two victories on the opening weekend of league play.  Butler slipped past Milwaukee on a goal by Kyle Pateros with just 23 seconds remaining in the first half.  The decisive play was started by a long pass over the top from sophomore Matt Hedges.  Two days later, it was a pair of freshmen stepping into feature roles for the Bulldogs against previously unbeaten Green Bay.  First-year forward Tyler Pollock gave Butler a 1-0 lead in the match at 51:37, scoring on a header off a throw-in from senior Kyle VondenBenken.  Then, after Green Bay tied the match in the final 10 minutes, freshman Julian Cardona scored the game-winner with 3:55 left after taking a cross from VondenBenken.  It was his first collegiate goal.  The last time Butler defeated both Milwaukee and Green Bay in the same season was 1999.        

NATIONAL RECOGNITION:  Butler sophomore defender Matt Hedges was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Men’s College Soccer Team of the Week, following Butler’s sweep of Milwaukee and Green Bay.  Hedges anchored Butler’s defense in the two wins, and he picked up an assist on the Bulldogs’ game-winning goal against Milwaukee.

ATTACK MODE:  Senior forward Boris Gatzky tied his Butler career-high with eight shots in the Bulldogs’ victory over Milwaukee.  He previously had attempted eight shots against Sacramento State in 2007, his first season with the Bulldogs.  Gatzky added two shots against Green Bay, boosting his league-leading total for the season to 32 shots.  He had six shots on goal in the two Butler matches, giving him a team-high 21 for the season.  Gatzky currently is tied for third in the Horizon League in goals scored (3), and he’s tied for fifth in the league in points (7).

Boris Gatzky stands 11th on Butler’s all-time list for shots with 136, two shy of Scott Olsen, 2002-05, in the No. 10 spot.

POLL WATCH:  Butler climbed in the national soccer polls, following last weekend’s sweep of Milwaukee and Green Bay.  The Bulldogs are ranked No. 24 by Soccer America and No. 29 by College Soccer News.  The Top Drawer Soccer Men’s Tournament 48 lists Butler at No. 40.  The Bulldogs are ranked ninth in the Great Lakes Region.

BULLDOG BITS:  The Bulldogs currently own Butler’s best seven-match record since 1998, when the team opened the season with a loss and then rattled off nine straight wins on the way to a school-record 19-5-1 campaign and a berth in the NCAA Tournament...Senior goalkeepers Nick Hegeman and Fabian Knopfler rank first and second, respectively, in the Horizon League in goals against average.  Hegeman leads the league at 0.50, while Knopfler checks in at 0.67.  The two are tied for second in the league in shutouts with two apiece.  Hegeman is second in the league in save percentage (.857).