Aug. 28, 2008
SEASON OPENER: For the fourth straight year, Butler will participate in a four-team tournament to open the men's soccer season. The Bulldogs will travel to Louisville, Ky., to face James Madison at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 30, in the first round of the Courtyard By Marriott East Classic. Tournament host Louisville will play Northeastern in the other first round match at 7:30 p.m. All matches will be played at Cardinal Park. Second round action on Monday, Sept. 1, will feature Butler against Northeastern at noon and Louisville against James Madison at 2:30 p.m. Head coach Kelly Findley returns all 11 starters from last year's squad, which posted a 9-7-4 record and tied for fourth place in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs have 21 of last year's 22 letterwinners back this season. Butler is 1-1 all-time against James Madison, which finished 7-9-3 last year. The Bulldogs will be meeting Northeastern, 8-10-1 last year, for the first time.
Butler won the Courtyard By Marriott Flyer Classic in Dayton, Ohio, to open the 2007 season.
PRESEASON SUCCESS: Butler played a pair of exhibition matches in preparation for the 2008 season and came away with a pair of victories The Bulldogs defeated Cincinnati on the road, 2-1, early in the preseason camp and then beat a team of Butler alums, 3-1, in a final tune-up. Seniors Frank Patano and Eduardo Garcia scored first half goals against Cincinnati, and three Butler goalkeepers combined to blank the Bearcats over the final 80 minutes in the opening contest. The Bulldogs then scored three goals in a 14-minute stretch of the first half to upend the Alumni Team, which included several former professionals. Garcia tied the match in the 30th minute, and sophomore Kyle Pateros gave Butler the lead for good five minutes later. Junior Boris Gatzky closed the scoring in the 44th minute.
FAMILIAR LOOK: Head coach Kelly Findley can call on 13 players who started 10 or more matches last season, including four who started all 20 matches. Juniors Boris Gatzky, Kyle VondenBenken and Austin Evans and sophomore Brett Heinz each started every match a year ago, while sophomore Connor Burt started 19 contests. Butler's returnees accounted for all but two of the team's 2007 points and all but four of the team's shots. Butler also returns both goalkeepers who saw action last season.
Thirteen of the 14 players who scored for Butler in 2007 return this season.
SCORING COLUMN: Senior Frank Patano enters his final season at Butler in ninth place on the Bulldogs' all-time scoring list. The Butler forward has scored 56 points in his first three seasons with the Bulldogs, and he trails former teammate Scott Olsen (2002-05) in eighth place on the all-time scoring list by just four points. Patano stands seventh in all-time goals at Butler with 24, four shy of Scott Weiger (1990-93) in sixth place. A third team All-Great Lakes Region pick, Patano led the Horizon League in scoring with 15 goals and three assists last year. His 33 total points were the sixth-highest single season total in Butler men's soccer history.
BULLDOG BITS: Butler won five of its final six matches in 2007. The Bulldogs out-scored their opponents, 17-9, during that stretch...Butler goalkeepers Fabian and Nick Hegeman combined for 86 saves and three shutouts in 2007. Knopfler started 16 matches and posted a 1.48 goals against average, while Hegeman started four matches and had a 1.35 GAA...Junior Boris Gatzky tied Butler's 10th-highest single season assist total and shared the Horizon League lead in assists with seven in 2007. Gatzky joined the Bulldogs after playing one season at Gardner-Webb....The Bulldogs played a school-record eight overtime matches in 2007. Butler was 2-2-4 in overtime contests.