Bulldogs Win BIG EAST Match In Overtime

Elise Kotsakis

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Forward Elise Kotsakis scored a golden goal less than two minutes into the first overtime period to lift Butler to a 2-1 victory over visiting St. John's in a BIG EAST match on Sunday (Oct. 6).  The victory was Butler's first in four BIG EAST matches and lifted the Bulldogs to 8-4-2 on the season.

Kotsakis put the finishing touch on an outstanding match between two quality teams and rescued the Bulldogs, who lost a 1-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the contest.  The Butler junior gathered a pass from Stephanie Kaylor and scored the game-winner between two St. John's defenders from about six yards out.

The shot was just the seventh goal allowed by St. John's in 12 matches this season.

"It was a great ball in by Steph," said Butler Co-Head Coach Tari St. John of the game-winning sequence.  "Elise is probably one of our stronger players and she got position, so it was either going to be a penalty kick or a goal.  (Kotsakis) held her off and stuck it in the back of the net."

The two teams played to a scoreless deadlock for more than 70 minutes, before Butler leading scorer Sophia Maccagnone put the Bulldogs in front.  The second-year Butler midfielder picked up a ball from teammate Mary Allen on the right side of the goal and fired a shot from 18 yards out past St. John's goalkeeper Diana Poulin.  It was Maccagnone's seventh goal of the season and it looked like it might be her second game-winner.

But the Red Storm (8-4-2, 1-2-1 BIG EAST), playing short-handed for most of the second half after losing freshman Lara Kristin Pedersen to a red card at 45:56, rallied with a clutch goal in the closing minutes.  Senior Sarah Ashmore served a long pass from midfield to the goal and senior Amy Marron finished the play with a diving header past Butler goalkeeper Mackenzie Hopkins.

St. John's attempted the first shot in overtime, but missed high.  Butler made the most of its first overtime attempt.

"Outside of the moment we gave up the goal, this was as good of a performance as we've had all season," noted St. John.  "The intensity, the physicality, everything was there for us today.  And mental toughness, because I think a lesser team gives up a goal with three minutes to go to go into overtime and you might not have kids step up.  Today, they stepped up, which I thought was awesome."

The Bulldogs finished with an 11-5 advantage in shots for the match and a 6-1 edge in corner kicks.  Maccagnone led the home squad with four total shots, while Kotsakis added three.  Hopkins went the distance in goal and recorded one save.

Butler will close out its three-match homestand with a BIG EAST contest against Providence on Saturday, Oct. 12.  That match at the Butler Bowl is part of Butler's Homecoming Weekend celebration and will start at 7 p.m.