Bulldogs Face Indiana In NCAA Tournament

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NCAA START:  Butler, the regular season champion of the Horizon League, will begin play in the 2009 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Indiana on Sunday, Nov. 22.  The Bulldogs’ first tournament match is slated for 2 p.m. (ET) at Indiana’s Armstrong Stadium.  The Bulldogs, ranked 23rd in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America national poll at the end of the regular season, earned the No. 12 seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament.  Butler (14-2-2) was an at-large selection to the national tournament, after losing the Horizon League’s automatic bid to Green Bay on penalty kicks, 3-2, in the league championship game.  The two teams had tied, 0-0 (2OT), in the championship match.  Indiana advanced to Sunday’s match with a 2-0 victory over Louisville on Thursday, Nov. 19.  The victory was Indiana’s 75th in NCAA Tournament play.  Butler and Indiana met earlier this season at Armstrong Stadium, and the Bulldogs came away with a 2-1 victory on a goal by junior Conner Burt in the second overtime period.  The winner of the Butler-Indiana match will advance to face the winner of Sunday’s North Carolina-Brown contest in the third round on Sunday, Nov. 29.                         

Butler is making its fifth NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship appearance.
     
BULLDOGS IN THE NCAA:  Butler is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.  The Bulldogs are 3-4-1 overall in NCAA Tournament play.  Butler has faced Indiana on three previous occasions in the national tournament, posting a 1-0 victory over the Hoosiers in 1995 before dropping decisions in 1997 and 1998 by identical 2-1 (OT) scores.  Each of the three previous meetings was played at Indiana.  Butler’s last NCAA appearance also was at Indiana, but the Bulldogs fell in that meet to Michigan State, 2-1.       

LAST TIME OUT:  Butler battled Green Bay to a 0-0 deadlock through 110 minutes of the title match of the 2009 Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championship at the Butler Bowl, but came up short of the crown on penalty kicks, 3-2.  Green Bay goalkeeper Ryan Wehking stopped the Bulldogs’ first and fourth penalty kicks, around successful attempts by freshman Julian Cardona and junior Ben Sippola.  The Phoenix, meanwhile, were successful on three of their first four kicks.  Wehking then stopped Butler’s final attempt to give Green Bay the title.  Butler, the top seed in the tournament, had reached the final with a 2-1 victory over Cleveland State.  Sippola and senior Boris Gatzky had Butler’s goals in the win.

ALL-TOURNAMENT:  Butler was represented on the 2009 Horizon League Championship All-Tournament Team by seniors Boris Gatzky and Kyle VondenBenken and junior Ben Sippola.  It was the first league All-Tournament selection for each of the Butler players.  Prior to the tournament, Gatzky, VondenBenken and sophomore Matt Hedges were named first team All-Horizon League, while juniors Conner Burt and Fabian Knopfler was tabbed second team All-League.  Freshmen Julian Cardona, Tyler Pollock and Jared Isenthal were picked to the league’s All-Newcomer Team.  Hedges was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, Cardona was picked league Newcomer of the Year and head coach Kelly Findley was named league Coach of the Year. 

BULLDOG BITS:  Butler is ranked third in the NCAA Division I in won-lost-tied percentage (.833), behind Akron (1.000) and Monmouth (.925)...The Bulldogs are ninth in Division I in goals against average (0.59).  Butler topped the Horizon League in fewest goals allowed (11) and goals against average...Senior Fabian Knopfler leads the Horizon League and ranks 12th in the NCAA Division I in goals against average (0.63).  The Butler goalkeeper has allowed just nine goals in 14 matches this season...Freshman Julian Cardona leads the Horizon League in game-winning goals with four.  Teammate Matt Hedges is one of four players tied for second in the league with three game-winners...Senior Boris Gatzky is currently tied for third on Butler’s all-time list for assists with 20.  Gatzky is 10th on Butler’s all-time scoring chart with 54 career points...Gatzky, who ranks third in the Horizon League in assists (7), had assists on both Butler goals against Indiana earlier last month...Freshman Tyler Pollock had Butler’s first goal at Indiana last month, the third of his Butler career.