The Butler soccer team finished its exhibition season on a positive note after defeating Northwestern 4-1 at the Shindigz National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind., Sunday afternoon.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, the Bulldogs reeled off four consecutive goals, cruising to victory.
Sophomore Tyler Pollock said he and his teammates came out ready to play.
“We just came out excited,” Pollock said. “We were getting tired of exhibition games and decided we were going to play our game.”
Senior captain Ben Sippola began the scoring barrage with a first-half goal, assisted by freshman Austin Oldham.
Butler head coach Kelly Findley said Sippola’s performance in Sunday’s game stood out.
“I thought Ben Sippola was involved in all of our goals,” Findley said.
Freshman Adam Glanzer followed with what proved to be the game-winning goal off a pass by sophomore Blake Leyden.
Sophomore Julian Cardona and senior Jacob Capito added goals of their own to put the contest out of reach for Northwestern.
Cardona was assisted by Pollock and Capito scored off a penalty kick.
Findley said he was extremely pleased with his team’s overall performance.
“I thought we defended well and created chances,” he said. “I felt our finishing lacked. I really think we could have scored seven goals.”
Despite that, Findley said he is happy with where his team stands.
“Right now everyone knows their roles, which is an ideal place to be as we prepare to start the regular season.”
Northwestern is ranked ninth in the Preseason NSCAA/Adidas preseason poll and is projected to finish third in the Big Ten Conference this season.
While Findley asserted the Wildcats did not play their best game Sunday, he said he believes the outcome also indicates his team’s potential this season.
“Northwestern is a good program,” Findley said. “They’re well-coached and I think they’re a top 10 caliber team.
“It was a good day for us, and it was a bad day for them, but I feel [the win] speaks well to how good we are too. I think we have a chance to go deep into the [NCAA] tournament this year.”
The Bulldogs’ regular season begins today at 5 p.m. when they battle IPFW at the newly renovated Butler Bowl.
Pollock said his team is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to play its first regular season game at the new Bowl.
IPFW also participated in the Shindigz National Soccer Festival, which Findley said provided his team with an opportunity to view its upcoming opponent on both Friday and Sunday.
“[IPFW is] your typical Divison I team,” he said. “They work hard and they have good athletes.
“The new season marks a fresh start, so we’re looking for them to come out and be excited.”
The Bulldogs were recently selected as the preseason favorite to repeat as Horizon League regular season champions in 2010.
Voting was completed by the head coaches of each Horizon League school.
Butler received five of the nine first place votes.