No. 21 Butler Faces Crucial Final Weekend

No. 21 Butler Faces Crucial Final Weekend

Oct. 30, 2008

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TITLE SHOT: Butler, ranked No. 21 in the latest Soccer America poll, faces its final two regular season matches with a chance to capture its first outright Horizon League season championship since 1998. The Bulldogs (12-2-3, 4-0-2 HL) will visit Detroit (4-10-1, 1-4-1 HL) on Friday, Oct. 31, for a 2 p.m. (ET) match and then return home for a contest against league-leading Cleveland State (7-7-2, 5-2-0 HL) on Sunday, Nov. 2. The Cleveland State match has been moved to 2:30 p.m. (ET) at the Butler Bowl to accommodate the Horizon League Women's Soccer Quarterfinals. The Bulldogs can wrap up the title with two wins, or with a win over Cleveland State and a loss or tie by UIC (4-1-1 with matches remaining at Valparaiso and against Loyola). Butler tied for the Horizon League season championship in 2004 and captured outright league titles in 1996 and 1998. The Horizon League regular season champion will host the Horizon League semifinals and finals on Nov. 14 & 16.

SENIOR DAY: Butler will pay tribute to the four seniors on this year's squad prior to the regular season finale against Cleveland State. Playing their final regular season contest in the Butler Bowl will be Eduardo Garcia (Lima, Peru), David Giarratana (Melbourne, Australia), Frank Patano (Franklin Park, Ill.) and Joe Wienman (Dixon, Ill.). Patano, who currently leads the Bulldogs in scoring, has played in 74 matches during his Butler career, while Garcia, who leads the team in assists, has appeared in 70 career matches. Giarratana, who had the game-winning goal in Butler's recent victory over Eastern Illinois, has played in 55 matches at Butler, while Wienman, who scored his first career goal in Butler's win over IUPUI this season, has played in seven career matches.

POLLING PLACE: Butler remains in the "Top 25" in two national soccer polls and in the "Top 30" in a third national poll for the second straight week. The Bulldogs are No. 21 in both the Soccer America Men's Top 25 and the College Soccer News Top 30 national polls. Butler is No. 26 in the Top Drawer 2008 Men's Tournament 48 Ranking.

WIN PLUS: Butler remained unbeaten in its last six matches with a 0-0 tie in double-overtime against Horizon League foe Loyola and a 2-1 victory at Bradley. The Loyola match marked the first time this season that the Bulldogs did not have a shot on goal, though the Bulldogs did manage 12 shots in the contest. Butler then came back from a 1-0 deficit at Bradley with back-to-back first half goals. Junior Boris Gatzky tied the match in the 34th minute and sophomore Ben Sippola notched the game-winner eight minutes later. The victory gave Butler 12 wins on the season, the most since 2004 when the Bulldogs finished 13-6-1.

The Bulldogs have tied the fifth-highest single season win total in school history.

BLANK CHECK: Butler's 0-0 tie with Loyola gave the Bulldogs ten shutouts on the year, setting a school single season record. Four previous Butler teams had recorded nine shutouts in a season. The Bulldogs have allowed just 13 goals in 17 matches this season and just one goal in six matches at the Butler Bowl.

Butler leads the Horizon League in shutouts, one ahead of UIC.

BULLDOG BITS: Senior Frank Patano continues to lead the Horizon League in scoring with 21 points. He's first in the league in goals scored (9) and first in game-winning goals (5)...Eduardo Garcia remains the Horizon League leader in assists with nine. He's tied for third in the league in points (15)...Sophomore Kyle Pateros is tied for fourth in the league in goals (6) and for fifth in points (14)...Junior goalkeeper Nick Hegeman is tied for second in the league in shutouts (7), and he leads the league in shutouts per game (0.58)...Butler has a 17-3-3 record in its last 23 matches, dating back to last season.