The Butler women's soccer opened its season Friday with a 2-0 loss to Louisville in a non-conference match. The Bulldogs (0-1-0) played a tightly contested match, heading into halftime knotted in a scoreless tie and trailing by just one until the final six minutes of play.
"I'm disappointed with the result, but not the effort," Butler head coach Tari St. John said. "We played well enough to be in this game with the potential of coming out with a result, but we made a couple of mistakes that set us back."
Louisville sophomore forward Casey Whitfield capitalized on one of those mistakes, getting the Cardinals (1-0-0) on the board in the 54th minute with a hard shot from the right side off an assist from junior Charlyn Corral.
Butler then came up empty on two very good scoring opportunities within a 2-minute span.
First, sophomore forward Elise Kotsakis had a shot blocked in the 69th minute. Less than two minutes later, freshman midfielder Sophia Maccagnone nearly bested Louisville senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer, but Kiefer made the save, helping the Cardinals cling to a 1-0 lead.
"Sophie [Maccagnone] and Elise [Kotsakis] were dominant in so many ways today," St. John said. "If they can perform consistently at that level, we will be in every game."
Louisville extended its lead in the 85th minute when junior midfielder Angelika Uremovich sent a beaming free kick from 35 yards out past Butler junior goalkeeper Julie Burton.
Trailing 2-0, the Bulldogs misfired on three shots in the final five minutes, including a pair of back-to-back shots from Kotsakis in the 87th minute.
Despite the loss, St. John was encouraged by her team's strong play in the season-opening match.
"It was apparent that we are much further along than we were at this point last year," St. John said. "All of these games are preparation for conference play. If we continue to get better from here, I like our chances in October."
Butler's bench availability in the match was limited to just four reserves due to injury and illness.
The Bulldogs will look to pick up their first win of the season when they host in-state opponent IPFW this Sunday at the Butler Bowl at 2 p.m. The Mastodons have yet to play a regular season match, but recorded a 2-0-1 record in exhibition play, including wins over Detroit and Western Michigan.