A pair of goals by senior Frank Patano and a rock-solid defensive effort helped Butler defeat Northeastern, 2-0, and capture the tournament championship at the Courtyard By Marriott East Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Monday (Sept. 1). The match was Butler's second consecutive shutout and the win left the Bulldogs as the lone team with a 2-0 record in the four-team tournament hosted by Louisville.
Patano scored the eventual game-winner at 31:26, after taking a pass from teammate Brett Heinz. Sophomore Michael Clayton started the scoring play with a pass upfield to Heinz. The goal was Patano's second of the tournament and the 26th of his career.
The initial goal was all that Butler's defense needed, but the Bulldogs added an insurance score early in the second half. Senior Eduardo Garcia drove the ball through three defenders, only to have his pass attempt deflected by Northeastern goalkeeper Scott Partridge. But Patano was there to clean it up with his second goal of the match at 59:19.
Butler's defense didn't allow a shot in the final 25 minutes of the match.
"Our defense was really strong again today," noted Butler head coach Kelly Findley after the victory. "We played really smart and disciplined, and we had great possessions."
Junior goalkeeper Fabian Knopfler recorded three saves, while posting his second shutout of the season and the fourth shutout of his career. He stopped two shots on goal in the first half and one in the second.
Patano and Garcia each finished with three shots for the Bulldogs, who finished with a 13-5 advantage in shots. Six different Butler players had a shot on goal in the match.
The Bulldogs wound up with four players on the All-Tournament team, with junior Boris Gatzky and sophomore Ben Sippola joining Patano and Garcia. The tournament crown was Butler's third under Findley, each in a season-opening event.
Butler will play its first home match of the 2008 season against IPFW on Thursday, Sept. 4. The match at the Butler Bowl is scheduled for 4 p.m.