A dreary skyline provided a fitting backdrop to what turned out to be a lackluster afternoon for the Butler men’s soccer team on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (4-3-1, 0-1-0) fell 3-1 to Horizon League foe Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the conference opener for both teams at the Butler Bowl.
The defeat snapped Butler’s 10-match Horizon League regular season winning streak.
The Panthers (4-4-0, 1-0-0) wasted little time seizing momentum. Sophomore defenseman James Aschcroft buried a pass into the back of the net off a corner kick in the match’s fourth minute, handing Milwaukee an early 1-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs have given up the first goal in six out of their eight matches this year. It is a stark contrast to last season’s squad, which allowed only three goals in its first eight games.
Freshman midfielder Zach Steinberger got Butler on the board in the 38th minute when he scored his first collegiate goal on a pass from sophomore forward Adekunle Oluyedun.
“Toward the end of the first half we really showed that we could come together and figure out some stuff on the field,” junior defenseman Jared Isenthal said.
The 1-1 tie at halftime would be the last bright spot of the match for the Bulldogs. The Panthers opened up the second half like the first, scoring just three minutes in.
Senior midfielder Robert Refai was able to put the ball past Butler sophomore goalkeeper Jon Dawson on a play that caught the Bulldogs off guard, allowing the Panthers to grab a 2-1 lead.
Milwaukee sealed its victory in the 71st minute when freshman forward Nick Langford deposited a header into the net.
“For them to score that third goal after we were pressing was just frusturating,” Dawson said.
The game saw its fair share of physical play. The Panthers committed 17 fouls, including four yellow cards and one red card, while Butler committed eight fouls.
Steinberger led the Bulldogs with two shots on goal, and Dawson recorded a career-high five saves in the loss.
On Sept. 21, the Bulldogs took down Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne 3-1 to pick up their fourth win of the campaign.
Oluyedun, junior defenseman Justin Sass and sophomore midfielder Adam Glanzer all contributed goals for Butler. The Mastadons (3-6-1) received a goal from senior midfielder Colin Helmrich.
Butler’s next match will pit the Bulldogs against Loyola on Saturday.