Butler Favored In Horizon League Men's Soccer Race

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Defending champion Butler has been picked as the 2011 Horizon League Men's Soccer preseason favorite in a vote of the nine league head coaches.  The Bulldogs narrowly edged Cleveland State in the preseason poll, released by the league office on Friday (Aug. 12).

Butler, tabbed No. 1 for the second straight year, picked up five of a possible eight first place votes in the poll (coaches could not vote for their own team) and recorded 60 total points.  The Bulldogs were unbeaten in the regular season a year ago, winning the Horizon League regular season title with a 7-0-1 record.  Butler claimed the Horizon League Tournament crown in a shoot-out with Green Bay and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, before falling to Michigan State and ending the year with a 16-1-3 record.     
 
First-year Butler head coach Paul Snape has four starters back from last year's successful squad, including two of the team's top three 2010 scorers.  Sophomore Adekunle Oluyedun finished second on the team in scoring a year ago with five goals and four assists, while sophomore Austin Oldham was the team's third-leading scorer with five goals and three assists.  The Bulldogs, who were ranked as high as No. 5 in 2010, led the Horizon League and ranked in the "Top 10" in the NCAA in goals against average with a school-record 0.61 GAA.
 
Cleveland State received three first place votes from the coaches and 53 total points.  The Vikings tied for third in last year's regular season race, but recorded a non-league upset of eventual national champion Akron.     
 
Milwaukee was tabbed third in the poll with one first place vote and 40 total points.  Valparaiso, UIC and Green Bay all tied for fourth with 33 points, while Loyola and Detroit tied for seventh just two points back.  Wright State was picked ninth in the poll with 10 points.
 
Butler will open the 2011 season with an exhibition match at home against Notre Dame on Thursday, August 18, and the Bulldogs will begin the regular season at home against Bradley on Friday, August 26..  The Horizon League Men's Soccer Championship will feature the top six teams in the final league standings and will begin at campus sites on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

2011 Horizon League Preseason Men's Soccer Poll
    Team (Points/1st Place Votes)
1.  BUTLER (60/5)
2.  Cleveland State (53/3)
3.  Milwaukee (40/1)
4.  Valparaiso (33)
     UIC (33)
     Green Bay (33)
7.  Loyola (31)
     Detroit (31)
9.  Wright State (10)