August 29, 2013

Bulldogs Open 2013 Campaign Against Western Michigan

HOME START:  Butler will open the 2013 men's soccer campaign on familiar turf when it hosts Western Michigan on Friday, Aug. 30.  The season-opener for both teams will start at 7 p.m. (ET) in the Butler Bowl.  Western Michigan, under first-year head coach Chad Wiseman, is coming off an 11-6-2 campaign and a fourth place finish the Mid-American Conference.  The Broncos opened the exhibition season with a 1-0 victory over Saginaw Valley State, a team ranked second in the NCAA Division II, before falling to Western Illinois, 3-1, in their final preseason test.  Butler is beginning its third season under head coach Paul Snape and is facing its third different conference in as many years.  The Bulldogs played the 2011 season in the Horizon League, before moving to the Atlantic 10 Conference last year.  This season, Butler has joined the powerful BIG EAST.  Snape has 16 letterwinners returning from last year's 5-8-5 squad, including 11 players who started at least 10 matches.  The Bulldogs return their top five scorers from last season.                  

The Bulldogs were 4-3-1 in the Butler Bowl in 2012.
      
SUCCESSFUL BEGINNING:  Butler looked like a team in mid-season form in the first half of its opening exhibition contest against Eastern Illinois in the Butler Bowl.  The Bulldogs scored two goals in the first six minutes of the contest and added two more before the end of the first half on the way to a 4-0 victory.  Butler had a 13-2 advantage in shots over the visitors in the first half and a 22-4 advantage for the match.  Four days later, the Bulldogs traveled to Michigan for an exhibition contest against defending Big Ten champ Michigan State.  The two teams battled to a 0-0 tie through 90 minutes of regulation play, and both coaches agreed to end the match in a draw.  The squads held a penalty kick shootout for the fans in attendance, and the Bulldogs prevailed.  

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT:  Fans at Butler's opening exhibition match had to check their programs to see who the new guy was starting at a forward position.  Before the first half was over, they knew his name well.  Freshman David Goldsmith from Bristol, England, scored his first collegiate goal less than six minutes into the match against the Panthers to give Butler an early 2-0 lead.  He added a second goal just under seven minutes later.  And the first-year forward capped an explosive first half by serving a nifty pass to teammate Jordan Burt for Butler's fourth first-half goal.  The five points he scored in his first 40 minutes of collegiate play would have made him Butler's seventh-leading scorer a year ago!  Goldsmith only attempted two shots in the match and both found the back of the net.                   

DEFENSIVE FORCE:  The Bulldogs, behind a veteran defensive back line and goalkeepers Jon Dawson and Andy Holte, recorded back-to-back shutouts in their two exhibition matches.  Dawson and Holte split the match against Eastern Illinois and then Dawson played approximately two-thirds of the match against Michigan State.  A year ago, the Bulldogs recorded five total shutouts.    

BULLDOG BITS:  Sophomore Jeff Adkins, who led the Bulldogs in scoring a year ago, tallied Butler's first 2013 goal just five-and-a-half minutes into the match against Eastern Illinois.  Adkins had a team-high five goals and five assists during his rookie season last fall...Senior Jon Dawson tied the third-highest single season total for saves in Butler men's soccer history with 87 stops last fall.  Dawson had three shutouts in his 18 starts for the Bulldogs.