November 1, 2011

Butler Closes Regular Season Against Top League Foes

CHALLENGING SLATE:  Butler will close out its regular season schedule with perhaps its two most significant matches of the season.  The Bulldogs will begin the challenging final week at league-leading Valparaiso on Wednesday, Nov. 2.  That contest at Valparaiso’s Brown Field is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (ET).  Three days later, Butler will wrap-up the regular season at home against Wright State, a team currently tied for second place in the league standings.  The Bulldogs (7-7-2, 2-3-1 Horizon League) are fighting for a berth in the Horizon League tournament.  The top six teams in the final league standings will advance to the 2011 Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championship, and Butler currently is tied for sixth place with UIC.  Butler can guarantee itself a spot in the tournament with a pair of wins.  Without a sweep, the Bulldogs’ fate will rest with the outcome of UIC’s final two matches against Loyola and Milwaukee.  Valparaiso enters Wednesday’s match with an unbeaten (5-0-1) Horizon League record, while Wright State is tied with Cleveland State at 4-2-1.  Saturday’s match against Wright State will start at 5 p.m. (ET) at the Butler Bowl.                   

Butler has played in every Horizon League Championship since 1990.                        
      
LEAGUE SPLIT:  The Bulldogs came out on opposite sides of two league matches last week, falling at home to Cleveland State, 2-1, before taking a 3-1 decision at Detroit.  Butler jumped to a 1-0 lead less than seven minutes into the match with Cleveland State, but the visiting Vikings rallied in the second half to pull out the come-from-behind victory.  The Bulldogs also grabbed an early lead at Detroit, scoring less than 13 minutes into the contest, but then added to that advantage with two more goals, before surrendering a late score to the host Titans.  The three goals at Detroit matched Butler’s single game high this season and were the most by the Bulldogs since a 3-1 victory at Loyola on Oct. 1.

SCORING POINTS:  For the second time in three matches, sophomore Austin Oldham played a central role in a Butler victory.  The second-year forward had the game-winning goal in Butler’s 1-0 non-league victory at Evansville, and then he picked up the assist on the freshman Chad Rigg’s game-winning goal at Detroit.  Oldham also scored Butler’s first goal against the Titans off a free kick with just 12:55 gone in the match.  Oldham, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring with seven goals and four assists on the season, has two game-winning goals on the season, and he’s had assists on two additional game-winners.

Austin Oldham is tied for third in the Horizon League in points (18).     

RETURN PERFORMANCE:  Freshman Zach Steinberger, who missed four matches with injury, returned to Butler’s lineup against Cleveland State and immediately picked up an assist on the Bulldogs’ first goal in the match.  He then scored Butler’s third goal in the Bulldogs’ victory at Detroit.  The first-year midfielder is second on the team in scoring with three goals and five assists, and he’s taken over the Horizon League lead in assists per game (0.42).  He’s tied for third in the league in total assists, one behind co-leaders Ivan Stanisavljevic of UIC and Stuart Grable of Green Bay.  

BULLDOG BITS:  Goalkeeper Jon Dawson has recorded 24 saves in his last four matches.  He had a career-high seven saves in Butler’s match at Green Bay, before chalking up six saves at Evansville, five against Cleveland State and six at Detroit...Sophomore Austin Oldham is tied for fourth in the Horizon League in goals (7), and he stands third in the circuit in shots (40)...Seniors JC Aikenhead, Lucas Eichhorn, Dustin Mares and Randy Richter will be honored prior to Butler’s final regular season match against Wright State.