ZACH HORRALL | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler University women’s soccer team lost their first Big East game of the season to No. 19 St. John’s University by a score of 1-0. The loss marks Butler’s fourth loss of the season, moving their record to 8-4-1 on the season and 1-1 in the Big East.
“I think, to be honest, we were a little slow and sluggish [in] the first 20-25 minutes, but a lot of that was just credit to St. John’s, with their pressing game,” Butler Co-Head Coach Rob Alman said.
St. John’s started off the game in charge as they dominated the first 10 minutes offensively. However, Butler kept up with them on the defensive side. Butler’s sophomore goalkeeper Madison Card kept the balls out of the net for most of the half. Card ended the first half with three saves.
As the first half continued, Butler started to gain traction on the offensive side and moved gameplay to the other side of the field. They were unable to score, even with the few chances the Bulldogs had to close in on the goal.
In minute 41, St. John’s redshirt sophomore Miranda Haraughty pulled through for the Red Storm and scored the lone goal of the first half with an assist from freshman forward Lucy Whipp after Card advanced up the field to block a shot from another opponent, allowing Haraughty to get passed and near the goal.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>St. John's strikes first with 4 minutes left in the half to make it 1-0</p>— Butler Womens Soccer (@ButlerWSoccer) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ButlerWSoccer/status/649733059449761792″>October 1, 2015</a></blockquote>
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At the end of the first half, Butler had nine shots and one foul. Senior midfielder Sophia Maccagnone led the team with five shots. St. John’s ended the first half with eight shots and nine fouls. Red Storm standout, senior forward Rachel Daly, led the way with three shots for St. John’s. Butler had zero shots on goal, while St. John’s had four.
“It’s always difficult to come away to Butler anytime,” Daly, a native of Harrogate, England, said. “We’re a really strong squad together, so I think that really helped today.”
Maccagnone felt that the scoreboard did not paint a good picture of how the team actually performed.
“We played really well, I thought,” she said. “They got lucky after a good break and put it in [the goal], and we just kind of refocused in the next half, and I was really proud of our team as a whole.”
The second half of the game was much of what happened in the first half.
St. John’s started the game with control, and quickly, Butler began to catch up offensively. Much like the first half, Butler was able to compete on St. John’s level. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, St. John’s defense was able to keep them from scoring.
Butler was more forceful offensively, and second-half junior goalkeeper Diana Poulin of St. John’s was credited with one save. Card did not need to make a save in the second half thanks to Butler’s defense, and finished the game with three saves.
“They really kind of forced a lot mistakes out of us early, and then for the last 20 minutes of the first half I thought we were very good, and then the second half; I thought we were dominant,” Alman said. “I thought we were the better team from start to finish in the second half.”
Maccagnone agreed saying, “We came back [in the second half], we brought it to them, we dominated a lot of it. I mean, they came back and they were hard, but I’m really proud of us, and it shows that we can compete with the best.”
Butler ended the game with 13 saves, adding four shots in the second half, and St. John’s ended the game with nine shots, adding just one shot in the second half.
“We knew we could compete,” said sophomore defender Shannon McDevitt. “I think we came out and showed it in the second half especially.”
Butler added one shot on goal in the second half, as well as one foul. St. John’s had zero shots on goal in the second half. The Red Storm added four more fouls in the second half, taking their total to 13 for the game.
“They make smart fouls,” Alman said. “If we catch them in transition and we’ve got them stretched, they’re going to foul, and they’re going to stop the game and get numbers back behind the ball and be difficult to break down.”
On the defensive side, McDevitt proved to be one of the strongest players for the Bulldogs. She ended the game with numerous blocks.
“I knew that Rachel Daly was going to give me a tough game,” she said. “It’s always exciting to have that challenge. I find that I tend to step up to those challenges better than when I’m playing a girl that’s not as good as [Daly].”
While the Bulldogs suffered a tough loss, in the grand scheme of things, St. John’s is possibly the best team they will play all season.
St. John’s leads the Big East in least amount of goals allowed this season with four. They also have the best goals against average at 40 percent. They are second in the conference for shutouts with seven, and are ranked in first place in the Big East.
“St. John’s is a great team, Rachel Daly is one of the best players and they have the best defense, too, so we knew coming into the game it was going to be a difficult one,” Maccagnone said.
“I think this is the best team we’ve seen so far,” Alman said. “We’ve got a few more challenges, but that’s a really good side and a tough side to break down.”
Looking forward to the Big East tournament, the Bulldogs are confident that they will meet St. John’s on the field once again.
“We’re just looking forward to making it to the tournament and playing [St. John’s] again there,” Maccagnone said.
McDevitt saw tonight’s game as proof of the team’s postseason potential and is optimistic of what is to come.
“It’s just exciting to see that we’re going to be in this tournament for the long run,” she said.