Butler Advances To League Championship Match

Butler Advances To League Championship Match

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.. -- Freshman Jackie Hafele scored the biggest goal of her young career to lift top-seeded Butler past sixth-seeded Detroit, 2-1, in the second semifinal of the 2010 Horizon League Women’s Soccer Championship at the Butler Bowl on Friday, Nov. 5.  The victory moved the Bulldogs into the league championship match against No. 2 seed Milwaukee on Sunday, Nov. 7.

Hafele’s goal, the third of her Butler career, came with just over seven minutes remaining in the match.  Freshman Olivia Colosimo served a corner kick across the front of the goal, and Hafele was perfectly positioned to play a header past Detroit goalkeeper Nora Abolins and into the left corner of the net.

“Jackie is a target for us on all set pieces,” said Butler head coach Tari St. John after the win.  “She’s 5-11, and she reads the game so well that even if they’re going to key in on her, she finds a way.  That was a perfectly placed ball by Olivia.”

Butler (9-10-0) fell behind in the first half when Detroit’s Kaitlyn Quarrell beat a Butler defender and blasted a shot past goalkeeper Olivia Walter.  The goal by Quarrell, her sixth of the season, left the Bulldogs playing catch-up.  

“I thought the first 15-20 minutes we were a little slow.  I think with the cold, it’s almost like everything is a little bit delayed, a little bit slow motion and the anticipation isn’t quite there,” noted St. John.  “As the game progressed, (our players) became competitors and remembered what was on the line.”

Sophomore Claire Milam gave the Bulldogs the lift they needed with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.  She took a pass from freshman Nikki Hafele and found herself in a one-on-one situation with Abolins.  As the Detroit goalkeeper started her move forward, Milam lifted a shot to the upper right corner of the net for her second goal of the season.

“It was awesome timing because it was late in the first half, and then we had the next 45 minutes with the wind at our back,” St. John said of Milam’s goal.  “Claire gave us that momentum and going into the second half really put us in a good spot.”

The Bulldogs out-shot Detroit (8-7-5), 5-1 in the final period, but the game remained a standoff until Jackie Hafele’s clutch goal.  Butler finished with an 11-9 advantage in shots and an 8-6 edge in shots on goal.  Abolins finished with six saves, while Walter had five.

The win was Butler’s sixth in the past seven matches.

“I don’t think this team was ready to come from behind five or six weeks ago, but we’re peaking at such a good time,” said St. John.

Butler will meet defending champion Milwaukee in the title match at the Butler Bowl at 1 p.m. on Sunday.  It will be the Bulldogs’ first title match appearance since 2002.  Butler is seeking its second Horizon League Tournament crown, while Milwaukee is chasing its seventh.