Butler’s successful men’s soccer season will
continue. The Bulldogs have received the No. 12 seed and a
first-round bye in the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer
Championship, which begins at host sites on Thursday, Nov.
19. The 48-team field was announced on Monday, Nov. 16.
The Bulldogs, who compiled a 14-2-2 record and a regular season championship in the Horizon League, were one of 16 teams to receive a first-round bye. Unbeaten Akron (20-0-0) was tabbed as the No. 1 seed, while Virginia (14-3-3) earned the No. 2 seed. Wake Forest (14-3-3) was seeded third and Ohio State (12-4-4) earned the No. 4 seed.
Butler will meet the winner of the match between Louisville (13-2-4) and Indiana (10-9-1), slated for Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner of that match will host the Bulldogs on Sunday, Nov. 22.
“I’m very excited for our players and our staff and for Butler University,” said Butler head coach Kelly Findley after receiving the tournament bid. “Our players have worked incredibly hard over the past year. We’re really looking forward to the challenge. I think every team you play in the NCAA Championship is a very strong opponent and the chance to play either Louisville or Indiana is a fantastic opportunity.”
The news of Butler’s selection took some of the sting out of the team’s championship match against Green Bay in the Horizon League Tournament one day earlier. The two teams battled to a two-overtime, 0-0 draw, but Green Bay captured the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on penalty kicks, 3-2. The Phoenix will meet Notre Dame (10-7-4) in the first round.
“I think our players are disappointed that we didn’t win the match against Green Bay, but we get another chance,” noted Findley. “It’s great to get a bye into the second round, and I think we deserve it. And it’s great for our league to get two teams in as well.”
Butler entered the Horizon League Tournament with a No. 23 national ranking and a #19 RPI. The Bulldogs defeated Cleveland State, 2-1, in the semifinals of the league meet, before settling for the 0-0 tie against Green Bay. The team’s 14 wins this season match the third-highest single season total in Butler men’s soccer history.
The Bulldogs are returning to the NCAA National Championship for the first time since 2001 and are making their fifth NCAA Championship appearance overall. Butler is 2-4-1 all-time in NCAA men’s soccer championship action.