Unbeaten Bulldogs Begin Homestand Against Valparaiso

Unbeaten Bulldogs Begin Homestand Against Valparaiso

COMING HOME:  Butler will end a month of traveling and begin a four-match homestand when it hosts Valparaiso in a key Horizon League match on Friday, Oct. 1  The 4 p.m. (ET) contest will be the first at the Butler Bowl for the unbeaten Bulldogs since Sept. 1.  Butler (7-0-0), one of just three unbeaten, untied teams in the NCAA Division I (SMU, 9-0-0, and Akron, 6-0-0, are the other two), has played six consecutive matches away from home and visited four different states since its season-opening appearance in the Butler Bowl.  But that travel schedule will lighten considerably with six of the next seven matches at home.  First up is Valparaiso, boasting a 6-1-1 record and a league-high five shutouts.  The Crusaders, ranked ninth in the Great Lakes Region, split their first two league matches, falling in overtime to Milwaukee before defeating Wright State.           

Butler is 7-0 for just the second time in school history.  The Bulldogs’ only previous 7-0 start was in 1990, the second year of Butler’s program.
POLL CLIMBING:  Butler took another jump in the national soccer polls, and the Bulldogs now stand at #16 or higher in each of the major soccer rankings.  The Bulldogs climbed to #14 in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, Butler’s highest ranking under head coach Kelly Findley.  Butler is ranked #12 in the Top Drawer Soccer Tournament 48 poll, #13 by Soccer America, #15 by Soccer Times, and #16 by College Soccer News.  Goal.com lists Butler at #6.  The Bulldogs remain at #3 in the Great Lakes Region, the highest ranking of any team from Indiana.  

NORTHERN SWEEP:  Butler won both of its league matches in Wisconsin for the first time since 1998.  The Bulldogs opened the two-match trip with a 2-1 victory at Green Bay and then completed the sweep with a 2-0 decision at Milwaukee.  Butler limited Green Bay to just two shots in the league-opening victory and then blanked Milwaukee on 13 attempts.  That last time Butler swept both matches in Wisconsin, the Bulldogs wound up posting a school-record 19 wins while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

CLUTCH PERFORMER:  Junior Matt Hedges tallied the game-winner in each of Butler’s first two Horizon League wins.  The 6-4 defender scored the second Butler goal and eventual game-winner on a rebound shot at Green Bay, and then he tallied Butler’s first goal in the shutout at Milwaukee.  The weekend performance earned Hedges Co-Horizon League Men’s Soccer Player of the Week honors, as well as Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week recognition.  He also was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week.

Matt Hedges has three game-winners in his first four goals this season.  

BULLDOG BITS:  Butler is tied for eighth in the NCAA Division I in team scoring offense.  The Bulldogs have scored 18 goals in seven matches (2.57).  Connecticut leads the nation with 23 goals (3.29) in seven outings...The Bulldogs are ninth in Division I in goals against average (0.43).  Butler is tied for sixth in the nation in fewest goals allowed (3)...Butler goalkeeper Fabian Knopfler ranks 10th in the NCAA Division I in goals against average (0.43).  Knopfler, who recorded his 14th career shutout at Green Bay, has moved into second place on Butler’s all-time list for shutouts.  Alan Placek (1994-97) holds Butler’s all-time record with 23 career shutouts...Freshman Adekunle Oluyedun scored his third collegiate goal and recorded his second career assist in Butler’s win at Green Bay.  His eight points are third on the team, behind senior Ben Sippola (13) and junior Matt Hedges (9).