Cleveland State managed just one shot on goal, but that proved to be enough to lift the No. 3-seeded Vikings past No. 2 seed Butler, 1-0, in the semifinals of the 2008 Horizon League Men's Soccer Championship at Flames Field in Chicago on Friday (Nov. 14). The loss sidelined Butler with a 13-3-4 record.
Marco DiFranco took a pass from Slavisa Ubiparipovic and slipped a shot past Butler goalkeeper Nick Hegeman at 88:20 for the lone score in the contest. It was the Vikings' only shot on goal in the contest.
Butler had several solid scoring opportunities in the match, but came up empty. Senior Eduardo Garcia hit the post with a shot five minutes into the contest, and 19 minutes later he had a shot stopped by Cleveland State goalkeeper Nick Harpel. Junior Boris Gatzky had two shots on goal in the first half and a third in the second period, all stopped by Harpel.
The Bulldogs out-shot Cleveland State, 11-6, in the match, and Butler had a 6-4 edge in corner kicks. Garcia led Butler with five shots, while Gatzky added four.
In the final regular season match this year, the Bulldogs out-shot Cleveland State, 27-13, but managed just a 1-1 tie.
Butler entered the match with a No. 25 national ranking in the NSCAA/adidas national poll. The Bulldogs were unbeaten in their final eight regular season matches, allowing just four goals over that stretch. Butler (5-0-3) was the first team in five seasons to post an unbeaten Horizon League record.
Cleveland State (9-7-3) will play for the Horizon League championship on Sunday, Nov. 16, against the winner of the second semifinals match between top-seeded UIC and No. 5 Loyola.