Bulldogs Tie Third-Highest Win Total In School History
VICTORY RUN: One year after matching the
fourth-highest win total in school history, the Butler men’s
soccer team improved its performance. The 2009 Bulldogs
became just the fourth team in Butler men’s soccer history to
record 14 victories in a season. Butler built an impressive
resume in head coach Kelly Findley’s fourth season, capturing
the Horizon League regular season championship and advancing to the
title game of the 2009 Horizon League Men’s Soccer
Tournament. The Bulldogs and Green Bay tied, 0-0, in the
title tilt, and the Phoenix earned the league’s automatic bid
to the NCAA Tournament on penalty kicks. But the
Bulldogs also advanced to the national championship as an at-large
selection with a No. 12 seed. The high seed earned Butler a
first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, a first in school
history! Indiana ended Butler’s remarkable season, 1-0,
in the second round of the tournament. The Bulldogs finished
the season with a 14-3-2 record, matching Butler’s 1990 team
on the school’s all-time win chart. Only Butler’s
1998 (19) and 1995 (18) squads recorded more victories. The
Bulldogs won 11 of their first 13 matches, including victories over
#25 South Carolina and #14 Indiana, and compiled an eight-match
unbeaten streak from Sept. 25 to Oct. 27. Butler cracked the
“Top 25” in the National Soccer Coaches Association of
America national poll, climbing as high as No.
Butler finished sixth in the NCAA Division I in won-loss percentage (.789) in 2009.
FINAL POLLS: Butler ended the 2009 men’s soccer campaign in several national polls. The Bulldogs were ranked 25th in the Soccer Times poll, 27th in the NSCAA national rankings and 29th in the Top Drawer Soccer poll. Butler was 30th in the final RPI.
DEFENSIVE ‘DOGS: Butler led the Horizon League and ranked ninth in the NCAA Division I in goals against average (0.61) in 2009. The Bulldogs also led the league in fewest goals allowed (12) and tied for second in the circuit in shutouts (8). Butler’s 0.61 goals against average broke the school record of 0.76, and the Bulldogs set a school record for fewest goals allowed, breaking the school mark of 16. Both previous records were set a year ago. Butler’s eight shutouts tied the sixth-highest total in school history. Butler ranked 31st in the NCAA in shutout percentage (.420) and 43rd in the nation in save percentage (.810).
TOP STOPPER: Senior goalkeeper Fabian Knopfler topped the Horizon League, ranked 12th in the NCAA Division I and set a school-record with his 0.66 goals against average in 2009. The Reutlingen, Germany native allowed just 10 goals in 15 starts, while breaking the Butler single season record of 0.70 set by Ben Anderson in 1998. He also finished with a 1.04 goals against average for his three seasons with the Bulldogs, matching the Butler career record set by Evan Reinhardt (2002-04).
SMART CHOICE: The success enjoyed by the Butler men’s soccer team on the field in 2009 was matched by the team’s performance in the classroom. Junior Conner Burt became just the second player in Butler men’s soccer history to earn first team Academic All-America recognition, and Butler’s entire team received a Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches of America Association. Burt, seniors Nick Hegeman and Boris Gatzky, and juniors Brett Heinz and Ben Sippola were chosen second team NSCAA Scholar All-Region, while Burt, Gatzky, Fabian Knopfler and Sippola were named Horizon League Academic All-League.
BULLDOG BITS: Freshman Julian Cardona, who led the Horizon League in game-winning goals (4) in 2009, was named second team on the Soccer America Freshman All-America Team...Senior Boris Gatzky finished his career in third place on Butler’s all-time list for assists (20). He tied for sixth all-time in shots (171) and finished 11th in points (54). His 67 shots this season were the fifth-highest total in Butler history...Senior goalkeepers Fabian Knopfler and Nick Hegeman tied for sixth on Butler’s list for career shutouts (10).