Bulldogs Close Regular Season With Two Key Matches

Bulldogs Close Regular Season With Two Key Matches

FINAL WEEK:  Butler, coming off a loss for the first time in more than a month, controls its own destiny heading into the final week of Horizon League regular season play.  The Bulldogs (11-2-1, 4-1-1 Horizon League) will visit UIC on Wednesday, Nov. 4, for a 7 p.m. (CT, 8 p.m. in Indianapolis) match and then return home to host Wright State in the final regular season match on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. (ET).  Butler fell at Cleveland State, 1-0, in its last outing, snapping a five-match winning streak and an eight-match unbeaten streak.  The loss also dropped the Bulldogs into third place in the league standings, behind Green Bay (5-2-0) and Cleveland State (4-1-2).  The two teams ahead of Butler each have just one league match remaining, and the Bulldogs can overtake both with a pair of wins in the final two matches.  The Horizon League regular season champion earns the right to host the league tournament semifinals and finals, Nov. 13 & 15.                       

Butler is currently ranked fourth in the NCAA Division I in won-loss-tied pct. (.821).
NATIONAL LOOK:  Butler is No. 18 in this week’s College Soccer News poll, No. 20 in the Soccer Times and No. 22 in Soccer America.  The Bulldogs are 24th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of American national poll, and Butler remains sixth in the Great Lakes Region.       

LAST TIME OUT:  Slavisa Ubiparipovic scored the lone goal of the match with less than nine minutes remaining to lift host Cleveland State to a 1-0 victory over Butler on Saturday, Oct. 31.  Butler had six shots on goal in the match, but couldn’t get one past CSU goalkeeper Brad Stuver.  The setback snapped Butlers five-match winning streak and eight-match unbeaten streak and dropped the Bulldogs from first place in the Horizon League.

SMART CHOICE:  Junior Conner Burt has been named to the 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 5 Men’s Soccer Team, chosen by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America).  He was one of 11 players selected to the District 5 team, which includes schools from Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario and Manitoba.  An honor student majoring in marketing, Burt is now eligible for selection to the 2009 Academic All-America Team.

SENIOR DAY:  Butler will pay tribute to the seven senior members of this year’s squad at the Bulldogs’ final regular season game against Wright State on Saturday (Nov. 7) at the Butler Bowl.  Closing out their careers for the Bulldogs are Adam Burch (Fort Wayne), Austin Evans (Warsaw), Boris Gatzky (Ruetlingen, Germany), Jared Gillespie (New Haven), Nick Hegeman (Zionsville), Fabian Knopfler (Ruetlingen, Germany) and Kyle VondenBenken (Sterling Heights, Mich.).  “I would like to thank this group of seniors for their effort and commitment over the past four seasons,” said Butler head coach Kelly Findley.  “They have each played an integral part in the program’s success and it has been a pleasure to see each of them develop as a player, a student and as a young man.  We pursue a standard of performance and excellence daily within our program regardless of circumstances, and each of these seniors has exemplified the qualities that embody Butler Soccer.  I am proud of each of them and look forward to seeing them succeed in their future endeavors.”  Butler has improved its overall record in each of the past three years.

BULLDOG BITS:  Senior Fabian Knopfler leads the Horizon League and ranks 23rd in the NCAA Division I in goals against average (0.70).  He’s second in the league in save percentage (.800)...Butler ranks 12th in the NCAA Division I in team goals against average (0.63).  Butler has allowed just nine goals in 14 matches this year...Sophomore Matt Hedges and freshman Julian Cardona each have a league-high three game-winning goals.