Freshman Julian Cardona scored his first
collegiate goal at a most opportune time to lift Butler to a 2-1
victory over visiting Green Bay in a Horizon League showdown at the
Butler Bowl on Sunday (Sept. 27). The win gave the
Bulldogs sole possession of first place in the league standings,
while Green Bay suffered its first setback of 2009.
Cardona scored the game-winner with just under four minutes remaining in the hard-fought match. He took a cross teammate Kyle VondenBenken on the right side of the field, gathered the ball directly in front of the goal and drilled a shot past Green Bay goalkeeper Ryan Wehking from 12 yards out. The shot broke a 1-1 tie, and the Bulldogs held on for the heart-pounding win.
“The match was exactly what I expected,” said Butler head coach Kelly Findley. “They’re a very attacking team and definitely a top team in our league. I was very happy with the chances we created. We could have had some early scores, but that’s soccer. Goals can be very hard to come by.”
The Bulldogs (6-1-0, 2-0 Horizon League) did have an 8-3 advantage in shots in the first half, but Wehking came up with three key saves. The match was scoreless at halftime.
Butler finally broke through at 51:37 when freshman Tyler Pollock slammed a header past Wehking after taking a long throw-in from VondenBenken. The goal was Pollock’s second of the season.
Green Bay (6-1-2, 1-1 Horizon League) increased its attack intensity in the final 35 minutes, and Butler goalkeeper Nick Hegeman came up with a couple of big saves before the Phoenix tied the match at 81:13. Sophomore Tony Walls notched the goal on a header off a corner kick from teammate David Prochazka. It was the third goal of the season for Walls.
The Phoenix out-shot Butler, 11-6, in the second half, giving both teams 14 shots for the match. Wehking finished with six saves, while Hegeman tallied four. Green Bay had a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Pollock and Cardona led the Bulldogs in shots with three apiece, the first time this season that Butler was led by a first-year player.
“Those guys have been getting better and better,” Findley said of his two freshman forwards. “We knew that they’re both quality players, and they’re showing it.”
Butler will return to action with a league match at Loyola on Friday, Oct. 2. The Bulldogs’ lone contest this week is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT, 8 p.m. ET) at the Loyola Soccer Park.