With a young team and a myriad of injuries, the season-opening exhibition slate was an interesting challenge for the Butler women's soccer team. However, according to head coach Tari St. John, the Bulldogs for the most part passed the test.
"The first weekend was an incredible learning experience for us," St. John said. "Our young players are learning what it takes to compete at the Division I level. We were able to identify some areas where we need to improve.
"I'm really looking forward to working with this group."
Butler opened Friday, Aug. 13 with a 1-0 win in an abbreviated exhibition vs. IPFW at the Butler Bowl. The contest was shortened to 45 minutes due to lightning and darkness. Sophomore Rachael Melendez scored the game-winner early in the match, taking a pass from freshman Olivia Colosimo down the left side and beating the IPFW goalkeeper. Melendez finished the goal with a one-touch finish.
Butler controlled possession for most of the contest, creating a number of scoring chances. Sophomore Katie Griswold and freshman Anna Ventimiglia each created breakaway chances but couldn't finish. Freshman Julie Burton played all 45 minutes in goal.
"We were happy with the way we played against IPFW. We controlled possession and created chances," St. John said. "We just need to put a couple more of those chances in the net."
Butler concluded exhibition play Sunday, Aug. 15 with a complete 90 minute contest vs. Western Kentucky. Just 13 Bulldogs dressed for the match, creating an interesting challenge for the young team. WKU would eventually win, 1-0.
St. John said the Bulldogs were up to the challenge. St. John said freshmen defenders Colleen Gorkis and Jackie Hafele played well at center back.
"We didn't have a lot of players available, so the challenge for our team was 'How do you solve this?' For the most part, we solved the game, we just couldn't put a shot in."
Butler women's soccer opens the 2010 season at Dayton Friday, Aug. 20 at 5 p.m. BU's home opener is set for Friday, Aug. 27 vs. Indiana State at 4 p.m.