BY RHYAN HENSON
Despite being in a much harder conference, Butler athletics should continue to succeed.
Fall sports are about to kick off, and Butler will get its first taste of Big East action.
Everyone is excited for basketball in a few months, but two of our strongest teams are the men’s and women’s cross country teams.
The two teams have received the most national recognition in recent years. The women’s team is ranked 26th in the country and both teams are coming of Atlantic 10 Conference championships.They will be heading into an even more difficult conference this season.
Head coach Matt Roe said he is excited for the challenge of one of the best conferences in the country.
“If we want to be a national level program and be on the national scene, we have to run against the best teams in the country,” Roe said.
Georgetown, Providence and Villanova have all been championship-caliber teams during the last two years. Villanova’s women’s team is arguably one of the best programs in the country. In 2009 and 2010 the team won back-to-back national championships, according to the school’s website.
With that said, the women’s team is ranked fourth in the region this preseason and expected to compete very well despite the competition.
The cross country squads won the A10 cross country championship last year despite making a significant jump in talent when compared to the Horizon League.
Men’s soccer will have a tough schedule this year. The team is scheduled to play seven teams ranked in the preseason Top 25. Xavier and St. John’s, are also on the schedule and on the cusp of being ranked. The tough out-of-conference schedule will prepare the Bulldogs for their tough in conference opponents.
Last year, the men’s team lost by one goal to Charlotte and VCU who are both ranked in the Top 25. Butler tied St. John’s who was just left out of the preseason Top 25 this year.
Women’s soccer will do well this year with even more young talent than the team had last year. Last year the women’s team posted a conference record of 5-1-3 and an overall 12-5-4 record. The team has a good mix of senior leadership and young talent.
Seniors Ali Backscheider, Mary Allen and Olivia Colosimo are all returning and expected to make an impact on the team. Combined with the young talent of Sophie Maccagnone, and Serina Kashimoto.
“Our team has a lot of experience and depth and great leadership from our senior class,” Backscheider said. “We’re really excited to be in the Big East this year. The mixture of our veteran leadership with the additon of our talented freshman class is going to help us make a statement in the conference.”
All of the teams should do well immediately or will utilize the stiff competition now to improve the program down the road.