The Butler women’s soccer team hosted a pair of games at the newly renovated Butler Bowl this weekend.
In their home opener Friday, the Bulldogs (0-4) fell 1-0 to the Indiana State University Sycamores (2-2).
The Bulldogs had 12 shots on the day, doubling that of their opponent, who had several opportunities to score in the first half. Butler recorded four shots on goal during the game, three of those coming in the first half.
Indiana State’s Kourtney Vassar was yellow-carded in the game’s seventh minute, setting up a penalty kick for Butler senior Sarah Phelps. However, Phelps’ attempt was thwarted by a save by ISU goalkeeper Emily Lahay.
Head coach Tari St. John noted the missed penalty kick as an obstacle that her young team will have to overcome.
“We have 11 freshmen on the team, nine of which are getting significant minutes, so there are going to be some tremendous growing pains,” she said.
The score remained deadlocked at zero until the 71st minute when ISU junior Ashley Collins took a pass from junior Alison Gasparovich and scored the lone goal of the game.
Collins’ shot was Indiana State’s only shot on goal.
“I thought we were about to break them,” St. John said. “It changes the landscape of a game when you go down a goal.”
Although the Bulldogs lost the game, St. John viewed it as a learning experience.
“You need to be able to look at a game, regardless of what the scoreboard says and say, ‘What did we do well? What didn’t we do well?’” she said. “That is what you need to focus on.”
Sunday afternoon the Bulldogs hosted Big Ten power Indiana.
The Hoosiers (2-1) defeated Butler 6-0, but the score did not reflect the Bulldogs’ performance, as Butler trailed by just one goal at halftime.
The Bulldogs were down 2-0 in the 59th minute when the game took a drastic turn.
Butler senior goalkeeper Olivia Walter was issued a controversial red card after an incident involving Indiana junior Devon Beach.
“It was a call that normally wouldn’t be called,” Walter said. “The girl [Beach] was on a breakaway and she tripped as I tried to grab the ball.
“The referee called a foul on me because I was the last defender.”
Following the red card, the Bulldogs were forced to play the remainder of the game with just 10 players.
The Hoosiers went on to score three goals in the game’s final 15 minutes to seal their second victory of the season.
St. John said it was a vital experience that her squad gained from going toe-to-toe with a Big Ten team like Indiana.
Walter also noticed some encouraging signs.
“IU scored a great first goal, but even after that, we didn’t get our heads down,” she said. “We are an extremely young team, so it was great to see that.”
The loss wrapped up a five-day stretch for the Bulldogs, that included a 1-0 loss at Xavier on Wednesday.
Three of the Bulldogs’ four losses this season have been decided by a single goal.
Butler will get a short break before continuing its season this Friday when it hosts the Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks at 5:00 p.m. at the Butler Bowl.