INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Senior Kyle Pateros and freshman Austin Oldham teamed on a pair of goals to help lift #7 Butler to a 2-1 Horizon League victory over visiting Loyola at the Butler Bowl on Sunday (Oct. 24). The kept the No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (13-0-1, 6-0-0 HL) as one of just three unbeaten teams in the NCAA Division I.
Oldham gave Butler the lead in the 22nd minute with a shot to the
right corner of the goal from eight yards out after taking a pass
from Pateros. It was the third goal of the season for the
first-year forward, and it gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead at
Butler stretched that lead at 51:56 on a nifty play that started with a pass downfield from Oldham to senior Ben Sippola, leading to a two-on-one breakaway. Sippola crossed the ball in front of Loyola goalkeeper Peter McKeown to Pateros, and he finished with a shot to the left corner of the net. It was his fourth goal of the season.
"We really created two great goals today," said Butler head coach Kelly Findley after the win. "Soccer's a hard game, so to create two great goals and get four or five great chances says a lot about where the guys are."
The Bulldogs, who suffered their first blemish of the season with a 0-0 tie against IUPUI on Wednesday (Oct. 20), showed tremendous intensity in the first half and pressured the visiting Ramblers with six shots, including three shots on goal. Oldham missed a shot high from directly in front in the first minute of the contest and freshman Adekunle Oluyedun was wide on another open attempt minutes later.
McKeown stopped shots from junior Matt Hedges and senior Ben Sippola after Oldham's initial goal.
"I think our energy was there and I was really pleased that we didn't fade in that first 45 minutes," added Findley. "We were focused, we were playing at home and we knew Loyola was going to be tough. I think (our players) also knew that a victory today puts us in a great position to win the league, and they weren't going to let anything distract them."
Loyola (3-9-2, 3-2-1 HL) pressed the attack in the second half and wound up out-shooting the Bulldogs, 9-3, over the final 45 minutes. Scott Waggoner scored the Rambler's lone goal at 70:03 with a shot from six yards out, but Butler goalkeeper Fabian Knopfler stopped the Rambler's final three shots on goal.
Knopfler, who picked up his 12th win of the season, finished with four saves in the match, while McKeown had three. Pateros and Oldham led the Bulldogs attack with three shots apiece.
The win give the Bulldogs a two-game advantage in the loss column over the rest of the league with two matches to play.
Butler will step out of league play for a key in-state match at Indiana on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs will return to Horizon League action on Saturday, Oct. 30, with a match at Detroit.