The Butler men’s soccer team has proven it can fight back with the best of them this season.
After falling behind 1-0 on Saturday, the Bulldogs (5-4-1, 1-1-0) roared back in the second half to defeat Loyola 3-1 and gain their first conference victory of the season.
From a shooting standpoint, the first half was evenly played, with the Ramblers (1-7-1, 0-2-0) holding a 4-3 advantage in shots. None of Butler’s shots were on goal, however, while Loyola was able to find the back of the net with one of its shots.
Sophomore forward James Howe scored in the 23rd minute for the Ramblers’ first and only goal of the match. The 1-0 lead would hold up until halftime.
“We weren’t that sharp in the first half,” head coach Paul Snape said. “I just tried to calm them down and say ‘Look, this is a difficult situation we are in, but let’s just relax and take control of the game.’”
The tide of the match completely turned when both teams exited the locker room.
The Bulldogs came out in the second half and played inspired soccer, outshooting the Ramblers 12-6 in the half and tallying three goals.
Sophomore forward Adekunle Oluyedun got things started with an unassisted goal in the 52nd minute on a strike from the left side of the box.
Junior forward Blake Leyden would get in on the action 12 minutes later when he scored an unassisted goal off of a corner kick.
“Ade made a run toward the near post, and I just fired it toward him as hard as I could,” Leyden said. “He faked at the ball and just let it go in, and they gave me the goal.”
Freshman midfielder Zach Steinberger would add an insurance goal just over two minutes later, and the Bulldogs were well on their way to claiming their first Horizon League win of the year.
The good feelings would not last long for Butler. The Bulldogs took a short road trip Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis yesterday and failed to score against the Jaguars (2-7-2), dropping a 3-0 decision.
IUPUI sophomore forward Ian Block tallied two goals in a five-minute stretch for the Jaguars midway through the first half. Senior forward Perez Agaba scored IUPUI’s third goal in the 81st minute.
Butler outshot IUPUI 18-12 but could not put a shot past Jaguars’ senior goalkeeper Tyler Keever. Butler freshman goalkeeper Andy Holte allowed IUPUI’s first two strikes and suffered the loss.
The Bulldogs will look to get back on track when they continue conference play against Illinois Chicago. The match will take place in the Butler Bowl at 7:00 pm on Saturday.