INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Butler women's soccer team will kick-off the 2013 regular season with a trip to Louisville to face the Cardinals on Friday, Aug. 23. The match will begin at 7 p.m. at the Cardinal Park Soccer Stadium.
About the Bulldogs
The Bulldogs prepared for the upcoming season with a 3-2 exhibition win over Ball State on Aug. 16 after posting an impressive 12-5-4 record a year ago. The team returns nine starters from the 2012 season including sophomore Sophia Maccagnone, who led the team in scoring with 24 points (11 G, 2 A). Maccagnone was named A-10 Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Atlantic 10, and First Team NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region after helping the Bulldogs finish fourth overall in conference play.
Joining Maccagnone at the point of attack this season will be the junior tandem of Elise Kotsakis and Kelly Mahoney. Kotsakis started in 21 games last year and recorded three goals to go along with three assists.
Despite playing a defensive role throughout the season, Mahoney was second on the team last year with four goals, two of which were recorded as game-winners. The Buffalo Grove, Ill. native will be a key player on the back line alongside Anna Ventimiglia and Olivia Colosimo.
A Look Ahead
Butler will play four of their first five games of the season on the road, but the schedule will turn in September with three straight home contests against Seattle, Eastern Michigan and No. 19 Michigan. The non-conference schedule should test the Bulldogs for their newest challenge of playing in the BIG EAST Conference.
Both Marquette and Georgetown made the 2012 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament and each team seems to be reloaded in 2013 as the Golden Eagles are ranked No. 14 entering the season as BIG EAST favorites and Georgetown comes in at No. 18. Butler was tabbed seventh in the preseason coaches' poll placing just behind St. John's and above Seton Hall.
Friday night will also serve as the regular season opener for Louisville as the Cardinals host the Bulldogs before taking on Illinois on Sunday, Aug. 25. Louisville has put together back-to-back successful seasons going 10-4-4 a year ago and 14-7-3 in 2011. The 2011 squad reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament after defeating both Dayton and Memphis by the final score of 2-0. They were eventually knocked out of tournament play with a 2-0 loss to then No. 9 Florida State.
The 2012 Louisville team reached 10 wins on the season, but they fell to South Florida in the BIG EAST quarterfinals in penalty kicks. The Cardinals left the BIG EAST Conference this offseason and joined the newly developed American Athletic Conference along with Central Florida, Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida, SMU, and Temple.
The Cardinals played two exhibition games to prepare for the Bulldogs, defeating Vanderbilt 4-3 on Aug. 12 and taking down Purdue 2-1 in overtime on Aug. 17. Expectations are high for Louisville as the team was picked to tie with UCF for the conference title in the preseason poll.
With the team returning nine starters and 97 percent of its goal scoring from the 2012 season, the Cardinals are a team to keep an eye on as the season moves forward. The one setback facing the club is the loss of senior Angelika Uremovich who will sit out this season with a medical redshirt after tearing her ACL in the spring.
Louisville is fortunate to have another impact senior on the roster as Charlyn Corral was picked as a Preseason All-Conference selection. She led the team in scoring last year with 23 points at the forward position.
Butler is 3-7-1 against Louisville in the all-time series. The last meeting between the two programs came just a year ago as the Cardinals handed Butler a 2-0 loss in the first game of the season. With the score knotted at 0-0 at the break, Louisville came out with a goal from Casey Whitefield in the 53rd minute of play and Angelika Uremovich made it 2-0 with an unassisted free kick from 35 yards out.
Regular Season Openers
Butler defeated Madonna 4-0 in the 2011 regular season opener after four first half shots found the back of the net. Rachael Melendez scored the first two goals of the game and the duo of Ann Zerfas and Lucy Chauvin chipped in to round out the scoring.
The last time Butler won the regular season opener on the road was back during the 2002 season as they defeated Ball State 2-0 in Muncie. They nearly accomplished the feat with a match at Dayton in 2010, but the Flyers held off the Bulldogs with a 1-0 win in double overtime.
The Butler women's soccer regular season opener has been played against Louisville four times (2012, 2008, 2005, and 2004).