Bulldogs Open 2012 Season With IUPUI Exhibition
2012 Butler Women's Soccer
The Butler women's soccer team kicks off the 2012-13 academic year when it hosts IUPUI at the Butler Bowl Sunday, Aug. 12. The Bulldogs and Jaguars will start at 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs, entering their first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference, will spend the early weeks of the season preparing for their new opponents. Head coach Tari St. John stressed the process of getting better, not only in Sunday's exhibition, but throughout the non-conference portion of the schedule.
"The biggest sentiment is that all of this is preparation for A-10 season," the Butler coach said. "We want to be at our best come conference time. We want everything to be culminating right around the end of September."
Eight returning starters from last year's team are expected to play heavy minutes on Sunday. Junior Julie Burton will start at goalkeeper, and may be splitting time with newcomer Mackenzie Hopkins. The top returning scorers are sophomores Elise Kotsakis and Stephanie Kaylor and senior Rachael Melendez. In the back, juniors Ali Backscheider and Anna Ventimiglia return after combining for 38 starts last season.
One change to the lineup for Sunday will be the movement of junior Olivia Colosimo to defender from her center-mid position. St. John said she likes the group she has defending the goal, but of course lineups may change as the season develops.
"We gave up too many goals last year and Olivia, although she could start at midfielder, she's probably our best left back," St. John said. "I feel good about the kids we have back there."
Butler and IUPUI usually play each other in the regular season, and although this match doesn't count in the overall standings, St. John says it's an important contest for her squad.
"The approach is a little different because this is our only exhibtion," St. John said. "We are going to treat it more like a regular season game. We've done a lot of scrimmaging so that's been very helpful. In order to prepare for our opener against Louisville and for the rest of the season, we're going to manage this game to put us in a position to win."
Butler's regular season opener is Friday, Aug. 17 vs. Louisville at 7 p.m. BU's first three matches (Louisville, IPFW, Indiana State) are all at home. The Dawgs open conference play vs. Saint Louis Saturday, Sept. 29.