Twitter - @ButlerWSoccer
Thursday, Sept. 26
Butler vs. Villanova – 4 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 29
Butler vs. Seton Hall – 1 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS – After posting a 7-1-2 record against non-conference opponents, it is now time for the Butler women's soccer team to compete in the BIG EAST conference for the first time in school history. Two road matches will start the new era as the Bulldogs play at Villanova on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. and at Seton Hall on Sunday Sept. 29 at 1 p.m.
About Butler (7-1-2)
The Bulldogs are off to their best start to a season since 2002 when the team posted a 15-6 overall record. The 2002 team got off to a 9-1 start in their first 10 games which included a signature win at Xavier. The lone loss during that stretch was a 3-2 setback at Illinois.
The current team has used a balanced attack to reach their overall record. Offensively, the team has scored 18 goals, but the defense has been equally as impressive posting five shutout victories. Sophomore Sophia Maccagnone leads the offensive charge with six goals and six assists and senior goalkeeper Julie Burton directs the defensive efforts having logged every minute in-between the posts for Butler.
Additional scoring threats for Butler include the one-two punch of Elise Kotsakis and McKenzie Muchow. Kotsakis has three game-winning goals to lead the team and Muchow stepped up recently with three goals in Butler's last three matches.
Good defense leads to good offense for Butler as the team limits scoring chances from their opponents to give the offense more opportunities to attack. Butler has out-shot the opposition 190-101 which includes an 84-41 advantage in shots on goal. The Bulldogs lead the BIG EAST conference in shots and are second in the shots on goal category. Butler also leads the BIG EAST in corner kicks with 56.
Scouting Villanova (3-4-2)
Villanova enters Thursday night with a 3-4-2 overall record. The team plays much better at home than on the road as the Wildcats are 3-1-1 on home grass compared to 0-3-1 when playing as visitors. Head Coach John Byford returned 10 starters from last year's team that went 7-9-3 overall with a 5-4-1 mark in the BIG EAST. The Wildcats ended the 2012 season in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament.
Villanova has been up and down all year long as they continue to follow wins with losses. After a 0-1-2 start to the season, Villanova won their first match of the year 2-0 over Lehigh on Sept. 1. Their second win was also a shutout as they knocked off Richmond 3-0 at home on Sept. 8. Their most recent win also came at home as they recorded a 2-1 victory over St. Francis on Sept. 15.
Three student-athletes account for 10 of Villanova's 14 goals. The team MVP through the non-conference part of the schedule would have to be Katie Martin who leads the club with 15 points. Martin is the team leader in goals with four and in assists with seven. She has taken 19 shots on the year, 10 of which were on goal.
Other scoring threats for Villanova include the duo of Reanna Marino and Caroline Brown. Marino is easy to spot on the field as she sports the #99 jersey. She is tied for second on the team in points with three goals and an assist. Brown has only taken four shots on goal this season, but three of those have beat the goalkeeper as she is tied with Marino for second on the team with three scores.
The Wildcat goalkeeper is senior Jami Kranich who has 35 saves and a 1.38 goals against average through nine games. Kranich has two shutouts to her credit and has been the keeper through all 850 minutes of action.
Scouting Seton Hall (2-5-2)
Seton Hall has the worst record of any BIG EAST school heading into the weekend as the Pirates are off to a 2-5-2 start. Their first win of the season came against Army in late August and win number two was a double overtime victory over Marist on Sept. 18. The Pirates will host Providence on Thursday before playing Butler on Sunday.
Head Coach Kazbek Tambi has been at the helm of the program for the last seven seasons. Tambi returned seven starters from last year's team who posted an overall record of 7-12. The BIG EAST schedule was hard on Seton Hall last year as the Pirates were hit with a 2-9 conference record which ultimately led to the end of the season in the opening round of the BIG EAST Tournament.
Katie Ritter and Ashley Clarke provide the team with senior leadership as the tandem leads the team in points with nine and seven respectively. Ritter is the team leader with four goals and Clarke sets up the action with a team-high five assists.
Butler will try to set the pace early in the match with an up-tempo style. The Bulldogs average 19 shots a game compared to just 13 for the Pirates. Jennifer Pettigrew will be under fire if all goes well for Butler as the Seton Hall goalkeeper heads into the weekend with 48 saves and a goals against average of 1.36.
Butler is 0-2 against Villanova in the all-time series taking a 3-0 loss to the Wildcats in 2006 and a 1-0 setback in the first-ever meeting back in 2001. Sunday's match between Butler and Seton Hall will be the first meeting between the two programs.
Soccer America Top 25
Butler remains at No. 25 this week in the updated Soccer America Women's Top 25 Poll. The team moved into national spotlight with a 1-0 win over Michigan on Sunday Sept. 15. The only other BIG EAST opponent to make the poll was Georgetown who sits at No. 8 with an 8-0-1 record.
BIG EAST Standings
1) (10/8) Georgetown, 8-0-1
2) (NR/25) Butler, 7-1-2
3) St. John's, 6-1-1
4) DePaul, 6-1-1
5) Xavier, 6-1-1
6) Creighton, 7-2-0
7) Marquette, 7-3-0
8) Providence, 3-3-3
9) Villanova, 3-4-2
10) Seton Hall, 2-5-2
Muchow Tabbed BIG EAST Rookie of the Week
Freshman McKenzie Muchow earned her second consecutive BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honor after scoring two goals in a 4-3 victory at Wright State last week. Muchow scored the last goal of the first half to give the team a 2-1 edge and she came back with the first goal of the second half to increase the advantage to 3-1.
Her first Rookie of the Week award came after she scored the game-winning goal over Michigan. She found the back of the net off a double assist from Mary Allen and Sophia Maccagnone. The win over the Wolverines was one of the biggest in Butler women's soccer history as nationally-ranked Michigan came into the match undefeated at 6-0-0.
Senior Eyes Shutout Record
Julie Burton was just one shutout away from tying the Butler single-season record last year as she ended her junior campaign with seven. Burton is making a run at the record again this year as she currently has five shutouts moving her career total to 13.
The senior moved into sole possession of second place by recording a 1-0 shutout over No. 11 Michigan on Sunday, Sept. 15. Her most recent shutout came on Sunday, Sept. 22 as the Bulldogs shut out IUPUI 1-0 to earn their seventh win of the season. The career shutout record his held by E.B. Larson who closed out her career (1995-98) with 23.5 shutouts.
Ready… Aim… Fire!
Sophomore Sophia Maccagnone took 11 shots at Bowling Green on Saturday, Aug. 31 moving her into a tie for fourth place all-time for most shots taken in a single match.
Kaylor from the Corner
Junior midfielder Stephanie Kaylor has been a weapon for Butler offensively by recording five assists. Kaylor creates a scoring opportunity every time she takes a corner kick as the junior has now climbed to eighth all-time with 14 career assists.
Sophia Maccagnone is putting together a fantastic sophomore season as she leads the team in multiple categories. Maccagnone leads the team in goals (6), assists (6) points (18), shots (55), and shots on goal (23).
Butler's four-match road streak will come to an end after the Seton Hall game as Butler returns to campus for three-straight home BIG EAST matches. The Bulldogs will host No. 10 Georgetown on Thursday, Oct. 3 and end the weekend with a match vs. St. John's on Oct. 6. The final game of the home stand will be on Oct. 12 vs. Providence.