DANA LEE | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler men’s soccer team brought a national spotlight to the school this past week after recently released rankings placed the Bulldogs within the top 25 teams in the nation. College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer each had Butler at 19th in their respective national polls. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 Poll had the team as 21st in the country.
Butler vaults to #19 in the College Soccer News national poll; Bulldogs 1 of only 5 undefeated ranked teams –> http://t.co/VtvMVLf0cg
— Butler Men’s Soccer (@ButlerMenSoccer) October 5, 2015
Butler Head Coach Paul Snape said his team is far from satisfied.
“You can’t get carried away,’ he said. “Number 19 might be good, but we’re aiming to be one of the best.”
The Bulldogs stand at No. 22 in the NCAA Men’s Soccer RPI. The rating percentage index ranks teams based on wins and loses, along with the strength of each team’s schedule. At No. 22, the only Big East teams ranked higher are No. 1 Creighton and No. 12 Georgetown.
Despite the new rankings, the team’s efforts remain concentrated on the process of winning games. While he sees his team’s ranking as a reflection and recognition of his players’ hard work, Snape believes that if games are won, the rankings and success will follow.
“Everyone wants to be ranked, I don’t care who you are. But what we focus on–we look at the high performance standards, we look at our mentality,” said Snape. “If we take care of doing the right things, if we’re the hardest working teams, if we’re the team that takes care of the small details–the wins will be an outcome of doing the right things.”
While the coach emphasized that a national ranking does not define the team as a whole or make them better, the Bulldog’s record is an indication of their success thus far. Until their loss against SIUE this past Tuesday, Butler was one of six teams still undefeated – out of the 206 Division I men’s soccer programs in the country.
Addressing the 2-1 defeat to SIUE, Snape didn’t believe that rankings, which were released the day of the game, were a factor. Rankings, he noted, shift week to week and can be out of a team’s control. Instead, he said, the focus should lie in what they can control: wins and loses and quality of play.
“We were humbled after our loss against SIUE,” he said. “Now we have to regroup, we have to focus on improving our efficiency and focus on enhancing our strengths.”
Factoring as one of the Bulldog’s strengths is the consistent leadership stemming from the four team captains, David Goldsmith, Mitch Ostrowski, Caleb Postlewait, and Mike Kozielek. Snape said each of his captains is level-headed, and does not get carried away after each win or loss. The team’s overall maturity is one that sets this year apart from others, and will provide resiliency against setbacks and ease the pressures of being a ranked team, Snape said.