The atmosphere at the Butler Bowl during last Wednesday’s men’s soccer match between then No. 23 Butler and defending national champion Indiana was almost unlike anything I’ve experienced at Butler.
For the first time since I have been a Butler student, the Butler Bowl actually had an audible student section. The game was truly a spectacle.
A record crowd of 5,029 fans for men’s soccer packed into the stadium. It was the largest crowd at the Butler Bowl for any sport since it was renovated in 2005. The grass berm on the south end was actually close to capacity.
It was incredible to step out of my building in Apartment Village and see how many people were in attendance for that night’s match.
Unfortunately, the large crowd was due to the fact that Butler was facing intrastate rival Indiana, which brought fans out both in crimson and in blue.
Attendance at other men’s soccer games this season has been sparse.
The home game against Brown on Sept. 22, only three days before the IU game, drew only 337 fans. The average attendance for the first three matches of the season was only 443 fans per match. The team deserves more support than that, especially from students.
The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 16 in the nation. Their only losses came against No. 5 Northwestern and Evansville.
Big East play began for the team on Saturday night with a 2-1 win in comeback fashion against Villanova. A mere 682 fans attended the match, a stark departure from Wednesday’s match.
The Big East offers much more to fans as the season progresses.
The Bulldogs host No. 4 Creighton on Oct. 23, in a match that should equal, if not surpass the excitement from the Indiana match. I fully expect students will fill the Butler Bowl as they did for the IU game and be just as loud if not louder.
No. 14 St John’s will come to campus three days later for another high-profile conference contest.
The regular season finale will be against rival Xavier at the Butler Bowl Nov. 8.
The Dawg Pound did a great job of promoting the IU game to students. The turnout for these marquee matches later this fall should at least meet the atmosphere generated by students at the IU match.
Soccer is best played before a passionate fan base. The result of last Wednesday’s match could very well have turned out differently if not for the attendance from Butler fans. With such a high ranking this season, the Bulldogs deserve our best as they compete in crucial matches that determine the Big East title.
Let’s not have the IU match be a one-off showing of affection for this team. Let’s carry the feeling of that game on for home matches throughout the rest of the season.