The Butler women’s soccer team is scheduled to play in its first Atlantic 10 Conference tournament tomorrow.
The Bulldogs ended the regular season with an overall record of 11-4-4 and went 5-1-3 in conference play to finish in fourth place.
Butler will be entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed, having won three of its last four matches.
The top eight teams in the A-10 standings qualified for the tournament out of the league’s 16 teams.
No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure is an unfamiliar opponent to the Bulldogs. Tomorrow’s quarterfinal match will be the teams’ first meeting this season. The Bonnies went 8-10-1 overall and 5-4-0 in conference play.
“We haven’t played [the Bonnies], yet it is kind of an advantage because we don’t come in with any preconceived notions,” junior midfielder Mary Allen said. “But it’s kind of a disadvantage too because you don’t know what to expect at all, but I think it’s a good thing we haven’t played them yet.”
If Butler beats St. Bonaventure, the Bulldogs would play the winner of the match between first-seeded La Salle and eighth-seeded Charlotte. The Bulldogs beat Charlotte 1-0 in the regular season finale Sunday. They have not faced La Salle this season.
If Butler does face a familiar opponent later in the tournament, both teams would already know what to prepare for.
“There’s so much to playing a team twice, so even if we play the eight teams we’ve already played, those teams are going to come at us and know how we play (and) go against our weaknesses,” junior midfielder Olivia Colosimo said.
With the potential of playing up to three games in four days, the grind of tournament play can be hard on players.
“Your body doesn’t get a full recovery in between games, but you go into it knowing that,” Colosimo said. “I think you mentally prepare yourself and physically prepare yourself in the days ahead so that you’re ready to play two or three games back to back.”
Players must also prepare themselves for the added pressure of playing in a single-elimination tournament.
“There’s a lot more pressure,” Allen said. “You have to be focused all the time. You can’t let up even for a second because the other team could capitalize on it. One goal could end your season.”
Butler’s quarterfinal match against St. Bonaventure is at 1:30 p.m. in Kingston, R.I. Semifinal matches are on Friday, and the final is on Sunday.