Butler Falls In League Title Match

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time defending champion Milwaukee used a big second half performance to race by Butler, 5-0, in the championship match of the 2010 Horizon League Women's Soccer Tournament at the Butler Bowl on Sunday, Nov. 7.  The win sends the Panthers into the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.

Tournament MVP Sarah Hagen scored a pair of second half goals and had an assist on a third to lead the second-seeded Panthers' offensive explosion in the final period.  The Milwaukee junior scored her 17th goal of the season just over five minutes into the final period to give the Panthers a 2-0 advantage, and then she scored her 18th goal at 74:28 to finish the scoring in the match. 

"Milwaukee was very good today," said Butler coach Tari St. John after the title match.  "They capitalized on some opportunities.  They have personnel who provide good service and can finish, and when we are not as organized as we need to be, a team like Milwaukee makes you pay."

The visitors capitalized on a Butler mistake midway through the first half, when Sara Stern gathered a ball that Butler goalkeeper Olivia Walter was trying to smother and fired a shot to the back of the net.  That goal gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The Panthers (12-6-2) then scored three goals in a ten-minute stretch of the second half, starting with Hagen's first goal, to put things out of reach.

Milwaukee out-shot the Bulldogs, who were making their first championship match appearance since 2002, 20-7, and the Panthers had a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal.  Sophomore Katie Griswold had four of Butler's seven shots in the contest.

The young Bulldogs, who rebounded from a 2-7 start this season, lost for just the second time in the last eight matches.  Butler finished the season with a 9-11 record.

"It was important for us to be here, to be in the championship game and get that championship experience," noted St. John.  "I was proud of the way we competed, even when we were down four and five goals.  No matter who was on the field for us, they were competing, and I think that says a lot about this group and their character."

"It's so easy to lose sight of what was accomplished during the season and during conference play.  What a ride, what a season.  The resilience they demonstrated after non-conference and getting themselves to the final hopefully overrides the feeling they have right now," added the Butler coach.

Butler placed three players on the League's All-Tournament Team - Griswold, senior Sarah Phelps and freshman Nikki Hafele.  Also selected All-Tournament were Hagen, Stern, Leslie Deebach, Keara Thompson, and Sarah Talbert of Milwaukee, Alexandra Suschak and Kaitlyn Quarrell of Detroit and Lauren Patterson and Amber Kasmer of Wright State.