Aug. 31, 2007
TOURNAMENT TIME: Butler will open the 2007 men's soccer season with a pair of matches at the Courtyard By Marriott Flyer Classic in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The Bulldogs will square off against St. Francis (Pa.) at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, August 31 in the first round of the tournament, before facing Sacramento State (Calif.) at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2, in the final round. The four-team tournament will be held at Baujan Field at the University of Dayton. The Bulldogs are entering their second season under head coach Kelly Findley and coming off a 7-11-2 campaign. St. Francis finished 10-7-3 in 2006, while Sacramento State was 7-10-2 a year ago. Butler will be meeting both squads for the first time. The Courtyard By Marriott Flyer Classic will be the first of three consecutive tournaments for the Bulldogs. Butler will participate in the Western Kentucky Tournament, Sept. 7-9, and the Northern Illinois Tournament, Sept. 14-16.
Butler opened the 2006 season with a championship at the Wright State adidas Cup in Dayton, Ohio.
RETURNING REGULARS: Butler head coach Kelly Findley has five starters back from last season's squad, led by junior forwards Frank Patano and Eduardo Garcia. Patano led the Bulldogs and tied for fifth in the Horizon League in scoring with seven goals and three assists in 2006. Garcia, a junior forward, finished fourth on the team in scoring with three goals and two assists last year. Also back from last year's lineup are junior midfielder David Giarratana, sophomore midfielder Kyle VondenBenken and sophomore defender Austin Evans. Giarratana had two goals and an assist last season, while VondenBenken added an assist. Evans saw action in 16 matches in his initial season with the Bulldogs.
Eduardo Garcia was named Offensive MVP of the 2006 Wright State adidas Cup.
PRESEASON POLL: Butler was tabbed fifth in the nine-team Horizon League in a preseason poll of league coaches. Defending champion UIC received eight first place votes in the poll and was picked as the league's preseason favorite, while Green Bay received one first place vote and was slated second. UW-Milwaukee was picked third, followed by Loyola, Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit, Wright State and Valparaiso. The Bulldogs placed sixth in the league a year ago.
NEW CREW: The Bulldogs will open the 2007 campaign with 16 new players on the roster. Head coach Kelly Findley has added three transfers and 13 freshmen to his roster for this season, and several of those newcomers will be in Butler's starting lineup when the Bulldogs square off against St. Francis in the Courtyard By Marriott Flyer Classic. One of the newcomers, sophomore Boris Gatzky, actually will add experience to Butler's lineup. Gatzky, a transfer from Gardner-Webb, earned freshman All-America honors and was named Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year last season.
BULLDOG BITS: The Bulldogs were winless, but unbeaten, in two preseason exhibition contests. Butler battled to a 0-0 tie at Cincinnati on Aug. 21, before posting a 1-1 deadlock at home against Xavier on Aug. 25...Junior Fabian Knopfler, a transfer from Reutlingen University in Germany, earned the starting nod at goalkeeper for both of Butler's exhibition matches. He's one of four goalkeepers bidding to replace graduated Frank Peabody, who started all 20 Butler matches last season. In addition to Knopfler, head coach Kelly Findley can call on junior letterwinner Nick Hegeman, senior transfer Jordan Myers and freshman Nick Powell...Junior Frank Patano scored Butler's lone goal during the exhibition season. He found the back of the net against Xavier, after taking a pass from teammate David Giarratana...Butler had 11 matches decided by a single goal in 2006.