August 23, 2012

Bulldogs Open 2012 Campaign At VCU Tournament

Butler vs. William & Mary
VCU/Nike Classic, Richmond Va.
Friday, August 24, 5 p.m. (ET)
Live Stats

TOURNAMENT START:  Butler will open the 2012 men’s soccer campaign on the field of an Atlantic 10 foe, but not against a conference opponent.  The Bulldogs will begin regular season play on Friday, August 24, at 5 p.m. (ET) against William & Mary in the opening match of the VCU/Nike Classic in Richmond, Va.  The four-team tournament, which includes Bucknell and host VCU, will be held at VCU’s Sports Backers Stadium.  

                                   VCU/Nike Classic
    Friday, Aug. 24    William & Mary vs. Butler, 5 p.m.
                              Bucknell vs. VCU, 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, Aug. 26   Bucknell vs. Butler, 1 p.m.
                              William & Mary vs. VCU, 7:30 p.m.

Butler was originally scheduled to meet VCU in the season-opening tournament.  But both schools joined the Atlantic 10 Conference this summer, and the tournament schedule had to be altered.  The Bulldogs will host VCU in a conference contest on October 14.  Butler will wrap-up play in this year’s VCU tournament with a match against Bucknell on Sunday, August 26, at 1 p.m.              

Butler is unbeaten in its last 16 regular season tournament contests.
      
SEASON WARM-UP:  Butler used a solid start and a strong second half defensive effort to record a 2-2 tie against Oakland in a preseason exhibition match at the Butler Bowl on August 19.  The Bulldogs scored just over a minute into the match when freshman Jeff Adkins took a pass from junior Austin Oldham and fired a shot past Oakland goalkeeper Scott Messer.  Oldham then answered a pair of Oakland goals with a score from ten yards out at 29:00 of the first half.  That shot ended the scoring for both teams.  The visitors from Michigan launched 13 shots in the second half, including seven shots on goal, but  the Bulldogs’ defense, led by goalkeeper Jon Dawson, kept the Grizzlies off the scoreboard.            

RETURNING EXPERIENCE:  Second-year head coach Paul Snape can call on nine players who started at least half of Butler’s matches last season, including a pair of juniors who started all 18 contests.  Jordan Burt has started 37 of 38 matches during his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, while Austin Oldham, who led the Bulldogs in scoring last fall, has started 30 matches.  Both were in the starting unit for every match in 2011.  Junior Justin Sass, who transferred to Butler from Evansville, started 17 matches a year ago, while sophomore Brandon Fricke was a starter in 15 matches.  Sophomore Zach Steinberger had 14 starts in 2011 and goalkeeper Jon Dawson had 13.  Snape has 15 returning lettermen overall.    

Jordan Burt has started 29 consecutive matches for the Bulldogs.

BULLDOG BITS:  Butler will be facing William & Mary for just the second time.  The two teams met in the first round of the 2000 Florida International Golden Panther Classic, and William & Mary captured a 5-2 decision.  The Bulldogs have not faced Bucknell in men’s soccer action...Butler has eight of its top nine scorers from 2011 returning this season.  Junior Austin Oldham led the Bulldogs with seven goals and four assists last season, while sophomore Zach Steinberger finished second with four goals and five assists.