Aug. 31, 2007
Junior Frank Patano tallied a clutch goal with just 39 seconds left in the match to lift Butler to a 3-2 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) in the first round of the Courtyard By Marriott Flyer Classic in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday (Aug. 31). The Bulldogs will face Sacramento State on Sunday, Sept. 2, to close out the four-team tournament.
Patano scored the game-winner after securing the ball in the middle of the box. Teammate Eduardo Garcia had attempted a pass that was broken up by St. Francis, but Patano eventually came up with the ball and recorded an unassisted goal to settle the match.
"Frank did a tremendous job of working for the ball and then creating space," said Butler head coach Kelly Findley. "He hit a powerful strike to the upper corner of the net."
The key goal by Patano was his second of the match, and it salvaged the outcome after St. Francis had battled back from a 2-0 deficit. The Pennsylvania squad scored two goals in a 12-minute stretch midway through the second half to tie the match at 2-2.
"I'm really proud of the effort of our team," added Findley. "Being such a young team, to come back after letting a 2-0 lead get away showed a lot of character."
The Bulldogs jumped to an early lead when Patano took a cross from sophomore Boris Gatzky and found the back of the net just over five minutes into the match. Butler then stretched the lead to 2-0 just over 12 minutes later when junior David Giarratana scored on a penalty kick.
St. Francis picked up goals from Jeremy Tice at 57:39 and Benjamin Kujawa at 69:02 to tie the contest.
"We had a little letdown in the second half, but we came back strongly," noted Findley. "We created several good chances in the final 10-15 minutes."
Fabian Knopfler, a transfer from Reutlingen University in Germany, made his collegiate debut for the Bulldogs at goalkeeper, and he finished with eight saves in 90 minutes of action. He blanked St. Francis for the first 57 minutes of the match.
"Fabian had several great saves to keep us in it," stated Butler's coach.
The Bulldogs will return to Dayton for the final match of the tournament on Sunday. The match with Sacramento State is slated for 12 noon (ET).