November 30, 2010

Butler Posts Record-Breaking Season

NATIONAL STAGE:  Butler’s unbeaten season and national title hopes came to an end in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship, but not before the Bulldogs compiled one of the most successful seasons in school history!  Head coach Kelly Findley, in just his fifth season, guided Butler to a 16-1-3 record, regular season and tournament championships in the Horizon League and Butler’s sixth NCAA Tournament appearance.  The 16 wins were the third-most by a Butler men’s soccer team, and the Bulldogs became the first team in school history to finish with just a single loss!  The Bulldogs opened the season with a school-record, 12-match winning streak and went on to post the first unbeaten regular season record (15-0-2) in school history.  Butler, boasting a school-record #5 ranking in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, earned a first round bye in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, but the Bulldogs’ tournament bid ended at the Butler Bowl on a late goal by Michigan State, 1-0.                  

Butler entered the NCAA Tournament as one of only two unbeaten teams in the nation.
      
NCAA TOURNAMENT:  Butler’s first NCAA Tournament match in the Butler Bowl went right to the wire, before Michigan State’s Jeff Ricondo found the back of the net from 20 yards out with just over five minutes left on the clock.  The goal proved to be the game-winner, as the Spartans held on to upset the #13-seeded Bulldogs.  Butler had a 15-6 advantage in shots, a 4-2 edge in shots on goal and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks in the match.  It was the second straight year that the Bulldogs fell in the second round of the national tournament.

FIRST DEFENSE:  For the second consecutive year, Butler led the Horizon League and ranked in the “Top 10” in the NCAA Division I in goals against average.  The Bulldogs’ final 0.52 goals against average ranked third in Division I, heading into the National Tournament quarterfinals, and broke the school single season record (0.61), set just a year ago.  Butler also led the league and set a school record for fewest goals allowed with a yield of just 11 goals in 2010.  The Bulldogs never allowed more than a single goal in any match this season!  Butler had nine shutouts in 2010, one shy of the school mark set in 2008.     
 
POLLING DATA:  Butler entered the NCAA Tournament with a “Top 10” ranking in all of the national college soccer polls.  The Bulldogs were ranked #5 by both Soccer America and Goal.com, while College Soccer News and Soccer Times had Butler at No. 6.  Butler was seventh in the Top Drawer Soccer Tournament 48 poll.    

BULLDOG BITS:  Butler seniors Conner Burt and Ben Sippola were named to the 2010 ESPN University Division Men’s Soccer Academic All-America Team.  It was the second straight year that Burt was selected and the first time for Sippola...Senior goalkeeper Fabian Knopfler wound up leading the Horizon League and ranking fourth in the NCAA Division I in goals against average (0.551).  He broke his own school single season record (0.66), set just a year ago.  Knopfler finished his career with a Butler record 0.87 goals against average...Fabian Knopfler wound up second on Butler’s single season list for shutouts (8), 0.5 behind Alan Placek (1997).  He also finished second on Butler’s list for career shutouts with 18..Senior Ben Sippola, the 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year, led the league in assists (9).  He tied Jeff Kurtz (1989) for fourth place on Butler’s single season assist chart...With eight teams still playing in the national tournament, Butler ranks fourth in the NCAA Division I in won-lost-tied percentage (.875), 11th in total goals (41) and 12th in scoring offense (2.05)...Kelly Findley, named 2010 Horizon League Coach of the Year, has guided the Bulldogs to a 43-7-9 record over the past three seasons.