INDIANAPOLIS - At times playing its best soccer of the season, the Butler women's soccer team led 2-0 before settling for a 2-2 tie vs. Xavier Thursday night at the Butler Bowl. Sophomore Jackie Hafele and freshman Elise Kotsakis scored first-half goals for the Bulldogs.
Both sides played at a high level, and the match was exciting until the 110th minute, when Xavier's Jessica Brooks had a threatening shot run high at the 109:35 mark. Butler then slowly set up a deliberate goal kick to kill the clock and claim the tie.
For the majority of play, the Bulldogs were the aggressors and moved the ball from end to end and side to side with a purpose. BU finished with advantages in shots (23-13), shots on goal (7-3) and corner kicks (7-3).
"If you look at the stats and attended this match, you would've thought we won," head coach Tari St. John said. "We played extremely well for large portions of the game...some of our best soccer. We are happy where we are at this point in the season."
Hafele gave BU the early lead at 14:26 when she finished a corner kick with a header. Freshman Stephanie Kaylor serviced a high-arching pass that found the sophomore Hafele for her third goal of the season. Butler would score again at 39:47 when Kotsakis buried a penalty kick. The PK, which was Kotsakis' fourth goal of the year, was set up by a hand ball call in the box against Xavier (5-4-1).
"Jackie and Elise played very well and with a lot of confidence," St. John said. "Jackie had one of her best matches tonight and Elise was very good at creating and attacking. You hope by this point in the season your freshmen are playing with confidence, and she is."
Brooks scored for the Musketeers at 68:45 when her header found the net after a long pass from Lauren Heap. Butler would hold a 2-1 lead into the 86th minute, when a hand ball call on the Bulldogs would ultimately change the night's result. XU's Brooke Eberly scored on the resulting free kick after an initial tap from Brooks. Eberly's shot was a rocket into the upper right 90.
"On that second goal, I have not seen a goalkeeper this year that would've stopped that," St. John said. "I give credit to Xavier. They did what they had to do to get back into the game."
Kotsakis was threatening in the offensive third all night, totaling six shots. Junior Katie Griswold had four shots, including two dangerous tries at the end of the match. Three other Bulldogs added three shots apiece. Sophomore Julie Burton played 110 minutes in goal, making one save.
Butler is on the road Saturday, Oct. 1 at Youngstown State. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. ET.