August 31, 2011

Butler Visits Michigan For Weekend Matches

TOURNAMENT TEST:  Butler will begin a stretch of two consecutive tournaments when it travels to Michigan this weekend to compete in the University of Michigan Invitational.  The Bulldogs will face host Michigan in Ann Arbor at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday (Sept. 2) and then travel to Oakland for a 1 p.m. match on Sunday (Sept. 4).  Michigan (0-2) and Butler (0-1) were ranked in the preseason National Soccer Coaches of America Association “Top 25”, but each is looking for its first 2011 win.  The Wolverines, ranked ninth in the preseason poll, dropped back-to-back matches at Bowling Green and at Kentucky to open the season, while Butler fell at home to Bradley.  Friday’s match will mark the third all-time meeting between Butler and Michigan, and the Bulldogs are seeking their first win in the series.  The Wolverines captured a 3-1 decision in a 2006 meeting and a 2-0 victory in 2000.  Both matches were played in Ann Arbor.  Following the weekend tournament in Michigan, The Bulldogs will begin preparation for the Dayton Invitational in Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 9-11.            

Butler is unbeaten in its last 12 regular season tournament contests.

HOMECOMING:  Butler head coach Paul Snape and Butler assistant coach Adam Bruh will be returning to familiar grounds this weekend.  Snape served as an assistant coach at Michigan for six seasons, 2003-2008, before being promoted to associate head coach in 2009.  During his tenure, the Wolverines made four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four last season.  Bruh was a four-year men’s soccer letterwinner at Michigan and the Wolverines’ all-time assist leader, before serving as a volunteer assistant coach at the school last year.  Both will be included in a pre-match ceremony honoring last year’s Michigan team.  Players and coaches from Michigan’s 2010 squad will receive their Final Four rings during the ceremony.            

OPEN SEASON:  Butler will be playing for the first time in a week when it takes the field at the U-M Soccer Stadium on Friday.  The Bulldogs opened the season at home on Friday, August 26, against a strong Bradley squad.  The visiting Braves scored a pair of picture-book goals in the first 17 minutes of the contest and went on to post a 4-1 victory in the non-league tilt.  Butler cut into the visitors’ lead at 41:21 on a goal by sophomore Austin Oldham, who was charging up the right side of the field and beat Bradley’s goalkeeper with a shot from 18 yards out.  Sophomore Blake Leyden served the ball to Oldham to start the scoring play.  The setback was Butler’s first in 19 regular season matches.

The Bulldogs have not lost back-to-back matches since 2007.

BULLDOG BITS:  Butler’s last loss in a regular season tournament match came to Michigan State at the 2006 Michigan Tournament.  The Bulldogs also fell to the Wolverines, 3-1, in that tournament...The Bulldogs had a 21-8 advantage in shots against Bradley and an 8-5 advantage in shots on goal.  But the Braves connected on their first four shot attempts in the contest to take control...Sophomore Austin Oldham led the Bulldogs against Bradley with four total shots, including three shots on goal.  Sophomores Jordan Burt, Blake Leyden and Adekunle Oluyedun each attempted three shots in the season-opener...Butler’s last regular season tournament appearance was at the 2010 Kentucky Tournament in Lexington, Ky.  The Bulldogs won that four-team event with victories over Houston Baptist, 5-1, and Loyola Marymount, 3-1.  Forward Adekunle Oluyedun, who had two goals and an assist in the two wins, was among four Butler players to be named to the All-Tournament Team.

(Photos by Jim White)