INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler has been picked as the 2010 Horizon
League Men’s Soccer preseason favorite in a vote of the nine
league head coaches. The Bulldogs narrowly edged Green Bay in
the preseason poll, released by the league office on Tuesday (Aug.
Butler, coming off a 14-3-2 season, enters the 2010 campaign as defending Horizon League regular season champion. The Bulldogs posted a league record of 6-1-1 and advanced to the championship match of the league tournament. The title match against Green Bay ended in a 0-0 tie, but the Phoenix advanced to the national tournament on penalty kicks, 3-2. Butler received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship.
Led by 2009 Conference Coach of the Year Kelly Findley, Butler features reigning Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year Matt Hedges and league Newcomer of the Year Julian Cardona. The Bulldogs allowed a conference-best four goals in league games last year while ranking second in points and goals per game.
Green Bay is coming off its best season in league history. The 2009 Phoenix finished the regular season 6-2-0 and claimed its first Horizon League title with the shootout victory in the conference title game. Green Bay will be led by 2009 Horizon League Player of the Year J.C. Banks, who led the league in points (36), goals scored (13) and assists (10).
Splitting the No. 3 spot in the preseason poll were Valparaiso and UIC. The Crusaders return the league’s top goalkeeper Ryan Schwarz, who racked up seven shutouts in 19 games last season. The Flames welcome back the scoring duo of sophomore Ivan Stanisavljevic and senior Kevin Stoll. The two combined for 12 goals in 2009.
The season officially kicks off on Wednesday, September 1 with six of the nine league squads taking the field. Butler will open at home that day against IPFW. The Horizon League Championship is set with first-round games on November 9 being played at campus sites before moving to the No. 1 seed for semi-final and championship game action on November 12 and 14.
Team Points 1st place votes
1. Butler 61 5
2. Green Bay 60 4
T3. UIC 44
T3. Valparaiso 44
5. Loyola 33
6. Cleveland State 32
7. Milwaukee 22
8. Wright State 19
9. Detroit 9