Sept. 28, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The No. 25 Butler Bulldogs got a goal in the 73th minute to slip past Villanova in the BIG EAST Conference regular season opener for both teams here on Saturday night. The Wildcats are now 3-4-1 overall, 0-1-0 in the BIG EAST while Butler improves to 7-1-1 overall, 1-0-0 in conference play.
"I thought we had some chances to win the game," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We created some opportunities and weren't able to convert them. There were too many stretches when we just retreated and got caught in our own end that gave them some momentum. Give credit to Butler - they made the plays to get the result."
Butler struck first as freshman David Goldsmith, who entered the game with seven goals in eight games, set up a score. A Goldsmith pass found Zach Steinberger, whose shot found the net at 20:46 to stake the Bulldogs to the 1-0 edge before a crowd of 682 at the Butler Bowl.
The Wildcats nearly tied the game on a chance by freshman Padraic McCullaugh in the 30th minute. A short while later, sophomore Chris Hill sent a ball in that McCullaugh headed into the goal past goalkeeper Jon Dawson to pull the `Cats even at one.
"We fell behind but were able to bounce right back and tie the game," noted Carlin. "That's always a good sign, especially when you are on the road in the BIG EAST."
That's where matters stood at intermission. The first half was an evenly played period and the final 45 minutes would not differ from that script. Each team would generate five shots in the second half but it the key one came from the Bulldogs.
A corner kick in the 73rd minute spelled danger for Villanova. Jeff Adkins sent a ball into the box that Steinberger headed past Wildcats goalkeeper Andrew Weakly at 72:47 to give Butler the critical second goal.
"We made a mistake and didn't follow a mark," stated Carlin. "This is a BIG EAST road game and all the small things matter. You can't afford to be minus one in set piece goals at this level."
The final stat sheet showed an even game. Butler owned a 12-11 advantage in shots while the Wildcats were awarded 10 of the game's 15 corner kicks. Dawson ended the evening with six saves for the Bulldogs while Weakly made five in front of the VU net.
"We've been here before," noted Carlin. "We have had to fight back after tough losses this season and have showed a lot of resiliency. We'll watch this tape, get a look at what we need to do better, and be ready to go for another road game on Wednesday."
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday night when they head across town to face Philly Soccer Six rival La Salle at 7:00 p.m.