INDIANAPOLIS - Freshman Elise Kotsakis scored in the 39th minute and the Bulldogs made the lead stand in a 1-0 victory over Wright State Saturday evening at the Butler Bowl. The match was historic in that it was the first night soccer match at the 83-year-old stadium.
Kotsakis scored on a shot from long distance at 38:43. It was her third goal of the year. All three of her tallies this season have been game-winning goals.
With the lead, Butler posted dangerous chances for most of the evening. Junior Rachael Melendez was thwarted on a PK attempt in the 15th minute and junior Katie Griswold nearly scored in the 32nd minute.
"It was typical soccer in that there was dominance in the first half, but it was still just 1-0," head coach Tari St. John said. "We need to take advantage of opportunities to score those second and third goals. If you don't, then Wright State can risk more, throw more bodies forward and put pressure on."
"Our defense was challenged but was up for the task," St. John said. "Specifically, Mahoney did a great job for us reading balls in the air. Mahoney was stepping to the ball and Anna did a great job covering. They're starting to work really well together."
Griswold led the Dawgs (6-5-0, 1-1 HL) with five shots, three on goal. Kotsakis and Melendez each had three shots. Senior Natalie Galovska made three saves and picked up her fourth win of the season.
Wright State's keeper, Brooke McCurdy, made eight saves. Her stops on Melendez's PK and Griswold's first-half chance were highlight worthy.
Two freshmen (Laura Luther and Lucy Chauvin) and two juniors (Rachel Scott and Claire Milam) all played key reserve minutes in the victory. St. John said the minutes those four gave were key to Butler's win.
"We didn't go very deep on our bench, but the minutes played were essential," the coach said. "Those 5-6 minutes of time in for the starters are some valuable and can be the difference between winning and losing."
The Butler Bowl, which added lights this fall for evening contests as well as morning practices, hosted football, men's soccer and women's soccer on the busy rainy Saturday. The lights were on for the 5 p.m. men's soccer match, but St. John's squad was the first Butler team to play a night game at the stadium. It was the first athletic contest under lights at the Butler Bowl since before World War II.
"It added to the atmosphere of a soccer match," St. John said. "Both teams played with a lot of adrenaline and it was more of a game-night feel. The girls felt pretty good about being the first team to play at night under the nights. And getting a win was a nice thing to add on top of it."
Butler will host Xavier at the Butler Bowl Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.