August 19, 2012

Butler Plays To 2-2 Exhibition Draw

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler started strongly and then held off a charging Oakland team to record a 2-2 tie in a men's soccer exhibition match at the Butler Bowl on Sunday (Aug. 19).  The preseason match was declared a draw without an overtime period.

The Bulldogs, playing against outside competition for the first time this season, started strongly.  Freshman Jeff Adkins introduced himself to Butler fans with a nifty goal just over a minute into the match.  The first-year forward raced up the left side, took a pass from junior Austin Oldham (right) and fired a shot to the far post for the early advantage.

But Oakland's Lucas Diener and Kyle Bethel each tallied a goal in a three-minute span midway through the first half to put the visitors on top, before Oldham closed out the scoring at 29:00.  Sophomore Brycen Howard started the final scoring play by pushing the ball to the middle and then passing off to Oldham on the left side.  Oldham tied the match with a shot to the lower right corner of the net.

"It was encouraging that we created chances," said Butler head coach Paul Snape after the match.  "In the first half we had six or seven very good ones, and we could have capitalized on them and put the game away early."

Butler finished the first half with a 10-5 advantage in shot, including a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal.

But the Grizzlies, who entered the match with a 2-0 preseason record including a 2-0 victory over defending Horizon League champion Valparaiso, turned up the heat in the second half.  The visitors from Michigan out-shot the Bulldogs, 13-3, over the final 45 minutes, including a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal.

Butler's defense, anchored by junior goalkeeper Jon Dawson, met the challenge.  Dawson stopped all seven scoring attempts and Butler held on for the tie.

"It was a good test," noted Snape, who played at Oakland as an undergraduate.  "This was their third preseason scrimmage and it looked like it from them throughout the 90 minutes."

The Bulldogs will begin the regular season on August 24 at the VCU Tournament in Richmond, Va.  Butler will face William & Mary in the first round of the tournament, before meeting Bucknell in the final round on August 26.