Fall sports still competitive in Big East

Butler’s first fall sports season in the Big East Conference is coming to a close.

Fans may have wondered going into the new league how the athletic program would handle its competition. Would the other schools the Bulldogs now compete with be too much for Butler teams to contend with?

The answer for the fall teams seems to be no. Butler has handled its new surroundings in the Big East just fine, and its teams have experienced some success.

The Butler men’s soccer team finished the regular season with an overall record of 10-7-1 while going 4-5-0 in the Big East to clinch the sixth seed in the conference tournament.

The Bulldogs had been picked to finish eighth by Big East coaches in the preseason poll.

The team’s performance in 2013 improved dramatically from its ninth-place finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2012.

Butler went 3-5-1 in its sole season in the A-10 on its way to a 5-8-5 season overall.

The arrival of freshmen David Goldsmith and Anthony Smith Jr. helped the Bulldogs to a postseason appearance, something the team was unable to accomplish in its past two seasons in the A-10 and Horizon League, respectively.

Meanwhile, the women’s soccer team saw a slight drop in its conference performance this season, but still managed to finish above the expectations of some.

Butler went 11-7-2 overall while finishing sixth in the Big East with a 4-5-0 record.

It gave the Bulldogs a berth in the Big East tournament, which surpassed expectations provided by the Big East preseason coaches’ poll. The poll projected Butler would finish seventh in the league.

The women’s soccer team finished fourth in the A-10 last season and reached the A-10 tournament semifinals, however.The team has still shown progress from its 2011 season in the Horizon League, when the Bulldogs went 8-10-2 overall and 3-5-0 in conference play.

The Butler men’s and women’s cross country programs entered the Big East with conference championship streaks.

The men’s team had won 15 straight conference titles entering 2013 and the women’s team had won four consecutive game conference titles.

Both streaks came to an end earlier this month when the squads each finished third at the Big East Championship. While the teams’ conference title runs are over, Butler’s position in the Big East could lead to a greater possibility of being selected to compete in the NCAA National Championship meet.

But perhaps the greatest success has come from the only fall team that competes indoors.

Butler’s volleyball team is less than two weeks away from closing out its first season in the Big East and holds a 21-6 record.

The Bulldogs are 8-4 in conference play and sit  fourth in the Big East standings.

The team has already surpassed its win total from last season when it went 17-12 while going 7-7 in the A-10 to earn the sixth seed in the A-10 tournament.

Butler is on pace to improve its seeding in its league tournament in this year’s Big East tournament.

The Bulldogs have shown steady growth since 2011, when they went 16-14 overall and 11-5 in the Horizon League.

Once again, Butler’s fall athletic teams have suppressed any concerns supporters may have had about a conference change.

The future looks bright for all of these squads in the remainder of their 2013 seasons and looking ahead to 2014.

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