Narrow Loss To No. 1 Seed La Salle Ends Historic Season

Narrow Loss To No. 1 Seed La Salle Ends Historic Season

KINGSTON, R.I. - Butler's historic season came to a close Friday night as the Bulldogs suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to No. 1 seed La Salle in the conference semifinals. Finishing with just five losses on the year, the Bulldogs (12-5-4) clinched the school record for fewest losses in a single season.

"I cannot begin to put into words how proud I am of this team," Butler head coach Tari St. John said following the match. "They gave everything they had tonight. There is no reason to hang our heads."

The Explorers (16-4-1, 10-0-1) scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 38th minute when Junior forward Leigh Gray recorded her fifth goal of the season off assists from midfielders Anna Dolhansky and Renee Washington.

Gray's score was just the 15th goal allowed by the Bulldogs all season, a school record.

La Salle outshot the Bulldogs 12-6, while Butler junior goalkeeper Julie Burton recorded six saves.

Freshman midfielder Sophia Maccagnone led Butler with two shots in the match.

Maccagnone finished with 97 shots on the season, breaking Amy Morrison's decade-old school record of 96 shots in 2002.

Freshman midfielder Randi DeLong, junior midfielder Jackie Hafele and sophomore forward Elise Kotsakis each had one shot on goal for the Bulldogs.

La Salle will play the winner of the No. 2 Dayton - No. 3 VCU match Sunday afternoon for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Butler's 12 wins this season marked the program's most since 2002 (15-6, 5-1) and the most under St. John's tutelage.

"This was a season to remember for so many reasons," St. John said. "All good things come to an end, but the future looks bright."

The Bulldogs are set to return all but three players next season. Seniors Kelly Grott, Rachael Melendez and Claire Milam will be the only departing Butler players.

"We will miss the seniors dearly, but they have helped put this program in a good place," St. John said. "Their legacy will not be forgotten."