Late Goal Ends Butler’s Season In NCAA Tournament

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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Jeff Ricondo scored from 20 yards out with just over five minutes remaining in the contest to lift Michigan State to a 1-0 victory over #5 Butler in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament at the Butler Bowl on Sunday, Nov. 21.  The loss was Butler's first this season and gave the Bulldogs a 16-1-3 final record.

The decisive play came just five minutes after Ricondo enter the match.  The Bulldogs failed to clear the ball in the center of the field and the Michigan State forward moved in and fired a shot from just outside the top left corner of the box.  His low attempt eluded Butler goalkeeper Fabian Knopfler and nestled into the left corner of the net.

It broke a 0-0 deadlock and ultimately propelled Michigan State (13-7-1) into the third round of the Tournament.

"Obviously, we're disappointed with the result," said Butler coach Kelly Findley after the match.  "I thought we played well enough to win the game.  We created enough chances and defended really well.  Today it's a cruel soccer game."

Butler seemed to control the attack throughout the match, but couldn't come up with a goal.  The Bulldogs had a 15-6 advantage in shots, a 4-2 edge in shots on goal and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.

Perhaps Butler's best opportunity came midway through the second half when sophomore Tyler Pollock raced up the right sideline and passed to senior Kyle Pateros, who found himself in a one-on-one situation with Michigan State goalkeeper Avery Steinlage.  Pateros blasted a shot from 15 yards out, but Steinlage made the save.

Steinlage also came up with saves on shots by Pollock, sophomore Julian Cardona and junior Matt Hedges.  Freshman Adekunle Oluyedun also had an open attempt with a diving header, but his shot went wide.

Oluyedun led Butler's attack with three shots, while Hedges, Pateros, Cardona, Pollock and Jordan Burt each added two attempts.  Six different players each attempted one shot for the Spartans, with Ricondo and Joe Paljaj each having a shot on goal.

Steinlage, who had four saves in the match, improved to 13-7-1 on the season, while Knopfler, who had one save, dropped to 15-1-3 overall.

"I'm proud of our seniors for the effort they put in," noted Findley.  "I'm mostly disappointed for them.  This is my job, so I get to keep going, but they put in so much time and effort for them to not get something I thought they deserved today is a tough pill to swallow."

Butler's 16 wins this season were the third-most in school history and the most since 1998.  The Bulldogs, champions of the Horizon League, entered the tournament as one of just two unbeaten teams in Division I.