Butler Drops Exhibition Match To #12 Notre Dame
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Danny O'Leary punched in a goal from 10 yards out midway through the second half to lift #12 Notre Dame to a 2-1 victory over Butler in an exhibition match at the Butler Bowl on Thursday (Aug. 18). The match was the first official contest for new Butler head coach Paul Snape.
O'Leary's game-winner off a centering pass from Dillon Powers came at 68:34 and snapped a 1-1 deadlock. The Notre Dame forward gathered the pass about 18 yards out, made a quick move to his right and fired a shot past charging Butler goalkeeper Jon Dawson.
The No. 21-ranked Bulldogs tried to mount a late charge, but couldn't come up with the equalizer.
"It was a great evening against a formidable opponent, and I was very impressed with our play in the first half," said Snape of his first match as a collegiate head coach. "Our ball movement was very good, our intelligence when to go forward and when to keep it was good and our defending wasn't bad. We made a couple of adjustments with the back line - we felt they got through us maybe a little bit too easy at times, but for the most part I thought it was a very good first half."
Butler struck first in the contest on a breakaway play with just over 12 minutes completed. Freshman Brycen Howard served a long up-field pass to sophomore Adekunle Oluyedun, who sprinted past a Fighting Irish defender. When Notre Dame goalkeeper Patrick Wall charged out to cut the angle, Oluyedun lifted a shot that bounced into the back of the net for a 1-0 Butler lead.
The Fighting Irish tied the match 14 minutes later on a rebound shot by Adam Mena. Ryan Finley started the play with a shot that Butler goalkeeper Andy Holte deflected, but it fell at the feet of Mena, who chipped it in.
The game remained deadlocked until O'Leary's decisive goal.
"To be honest with you, we lost it for about 20-25 minutes in the second half," noted Snape. "We couldn't get hold of the game. We were sloppy with our passing, our defending was off, we weren't tight and we just allowed Notre Dame to dictate the play. But I actually thought in the last 18 minutes we gained the momentum and created a lot of chances."
Butler did have a couple of late scoring opportunities on shots by Tanner Wilcox and Blake Leyden, but Wall came up with saves on both attempts. The Bulldogs finished with a slight 13-12 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge in corner kicks. Wall had four saves in the match, Holte recorded three and Dawson had two.
"You like to win every single game, but it's preseason and we're really looking at what we've got, our strengths and areas we need to work on. And I think it was a fantastic exercise to see what we've really got. There's a lot of positive that came out of (the match) and there's things we need to work on," added Snape.
The Bulldogs will play a final exhibition match at Bowling Green on Sunday (Aug. 21), before opening the regular season at home against Bradley on Friday, August 26.