November 12, 2009

Bulldogs Host Horizon League Championship

TOURNAMENT TIME:  Top-seeded Butler will return to action for the first time since clinching the league regular season championship when it hosts No. 4 seed Cleveland State in the semifinals of the 2009 Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championship on Friday, Nov. 13.  The match will be the second semifinal contest at the Butler Bowl and will start at approximately 2:30 p.m. (ET).  Cleveland State, the lone Horizon League team to defeat the Bulldogs this season, advanced to the semifinals by topping UIC on penalty kicks, 3-1 in a first round match on Tuesday (Nov. 10).  The two teams played to a 0-0 draw through two overtimes.  No. 3 seed Valparaiso defeated Milwaukee, 4-0, in the other first round match, and the Crusaders will face No. 2 seed Green Bay in the first semifinal match at noon on Friday.  The Horizon League championship match will be played at Butler on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. (ET).  Butler (13-2-1, 6-1-1 HL) received a bye to the semifinals by finishing first in the Horizon League regular season race.                         

The Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championship is being played in the Butler Bowl for the first time.
     
NATIONAL LOOK:  Butler has climbed to No. 14 in this week’s College Soccer News poll, No. 16 in the Soccer Times, No. 18 in Soccer America and No. 43 in the Top Drawer Soccer Men’s Tournament 48.  The Bulldogs are 23rd in the National Soccer Coaches Association of American national poll, and Butler stands fifth in the Great Lakes Region.  Butler finished 19th in the final RPI rankings.       

LAST TIME OUT:  Butler wrapped up its first Horizon League regular season title since 2004 with a come-from-behind, 3-1, victory at home over Wright State in the final match of the regular season.  The Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the first half, before Butler stormed back with three second-half goals to claim the victory.  Freshman Julian Cardona tied the match at 52:08 on a header, and junior Ben Sippola nailed the game-winner at 64:25.  Senior Boris Gatzky added an insurance goal with under nine minutes remaining.  The win was Butler’s 13th of the season, matching the fourth-highest single season win total in Butler men’s soccer history.

LEAGUE HONORS:  Eight Butler players were named to the 2009 All-Horizon League Team, and Butler head coach Kelly Findley was chosen as the 2009 Horizon League Coach of the Year.  Sophomore Matt Hedges was selected Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-League, while freshman Julian Cardona was named league Newcomer of the Year and picked to the All-Newcomer Team.  Seniors Boris Gatzky and Kyle VondenBenken both earned first team All-League recognition, while juniors Fabian Knopfler and Conner Burt were tabbed second team.  Freshmen Jared Isenthal and Tyler Pollock joined Cardona on the All-Newcomer squad.

BULLDOG BITS:  Butler is ranked third in the NCAA Division I in won-lost-tied percentage (.844), behind Akron (1.000) and Monmouth (.917)...The Bulldogs are ninth in Division I in goals against average (0.61).  Butler leads the Horizon League in fewest goals allowed (10) and goals against average...Senior Fabian Knopfler leads the Horizon League and ranks 17th in the NCAA Division I in goals against average (0.67)...Freshman Julian Cardona leads the Horizon League in game-winning goals with four.  Teammate Matt Hedges is one of four players tied for second in the league with three game-winners...Senior Boris Gatzky is currently tied for third on Butler’s all-time list for assists with 20.  Gatzky is 11th on Butler’s all-time scoring chart with 52 career points, one shy of Giancarlo Barraza (1997-2000) in the No. 10 spot...The Bulldogs are 6-0 at home this fall.  Butler is unbeaten in it’s last 18 matches in the Butler Bowl.