Women’s soccer grabs conference opener

The Butler women’s soccer team opened its conference season with a win on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (3-7) began their Horizon League campaign against Wright State.

Friday’s match against Oakland University was the last game before the start of conference play.

Coming off two tough losses in Oregon, head coach Tari St. John said she was hoping to use Friday’s game against the Grizzlies (4-5-1) to better prepare her team for Horizon League action.

The contest began with freshman midfielder Olivia Colosimo launching a corner kick, which was re-directed into the back of the net by fellow freshman Jackie Hafele. It was Hafele’s first collegiate goal.

The celebration would be cut short less than five minutes later with a score from Grizzlies midfielder Marlen Knoph.

Play continued to be close until late in the second half when Oakland sophomore Kara Weber picked up a loose ball in front of the net off a corner kick and slipped a shot into the Butler goal with 4:53 remaining.

The Bulldogs were unable to comemup with a tying score and fell by a 2-1 margin.

After the loss, junior goaltender Olivia Walter knew the team had to refocus for Sunday’s match.

“We used Saturday’s practice to reevaluate our play, focusing primarily on why we were playing for Butler,” Walter said.

In the game against Wright State, it became clear early on that the Bulldogs were ready for conference action when sophomore Katie Griswold scored in the 25th minute of the game.

The goal helped establish a lead that the Bulldog defense would hold for the rest of the contest.

The goal came when senior Sarah Phelps sent a corner kick into traffic and Griswold directed a header into the net, collecting her team-leading sixth goal of the season.

“I wouldn’t be scoring if it weren’t for the other players on the field,” Griswold said. “The effort starts with the goalie and only ends with me.”

Griswold led the team with four shots and freshman Nikki Hafele added two more shots for Butler. The Bulldogs ended the game with advantages in shots (13-11), shots on goal (6-5) and corner kicks (5-2).

The Raiders were unable to muster anything offensively, as Butler pulled out a 1-0 victory. Walter posted her second shutout of the season, collecting five saves in the process.

The Bulldogs will continue with Horizon League play on Saturday against Valparaiso.

The game against the Crusaders will be followed by a non-conference match against IUPUI on Oct. 9.

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