The week ahead in Butler sports: Aug. 27-Sept. 2

Quarterback Will Marty celebrates with wide receiver Pace Temple following a play last season. The football team kicks off their season at Youngstown State on Sept. 1. Collegian file photo.

DREW SANDIFER | STAFF REPORTER | dsandife@butler.edu

Monday, Aug. 27:

Men’s Soccer vs Drake

After a matchup with a top-five team in Akron, the ninth-ranked Butler men’s soccer team enters a “Dawg fight” with the Bulldogs from Drake University out of Des Moines, Iowa. Despite winning four NCAA Tournament games since 2009, when they advanced to the Elite Eight, Drake has fallen on a couple of underwhelming seasons under fourth-year coach Gareth Smith. A season ago, Drake went 6-11-2 in a season that included a two-goal loss to DePaul, a three-goal loss to Xavier, and a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Creighton. The game begins at 6 p.m. at the Sellick Bowl.

Thursday, Aug. 30:

Men’s Soccer at Western Michigan

On Thursday, the Butler men’s soccer team is back on the road to face yet another nationally ranked team. One week after facing the runner-up in the MAC a season ago, the Akron Zips, they hit the road to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to face the reigning MAC champions, the Broncos of Western Michigan University. En route to their conference crown, the Broncos came through the Sellick Bowl and scored three goals in seven minutes and held on to defeat the Bulldogs 3-2. The Bulldogs were ranked 21st at the time. The game kicks off from the WMU Soccer Complex at 5 p.m.

Women’s Soccer at Dayton

Coming off of a match with 20th-ranked Notre Dame on Sunday, the Bulldogs take the two-hour trek out to Dayton, Ohio, to take on the Dayton Flyers. The Flyers finished 9-9-2 last season behind 12 goals from now-graduated Alexis Kiehl. This year’s Flyers squad find themselves ranked sixth in the United Soccer Coaches east region poll. Butler was voted third in the same poll. The game kicks off from Bajuan Field in Dayton at 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 31:

Volleyball vs Auburn

The Butler volleyball team’s home opener is set for Friday as the Auburn Tigers come into historic Hinkle Fieldhouse as the opening game in the Top Dawg Challenge, a weekend tournament here at Butler. Anna Logan, the Bulldogs’ AVCA All-America honorable mention, will not play as a back injury will cause her to be redshirted for the 2018-19 season. First serve from Hinkle Fieldhouse is at 7 p.m.

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country in the Butler Twilight

On Friday night, the men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their seasons with the only home meet of the season: the Butler Twilight. The event consists of cross country teams from Ball State, IUPUI, and the University of Indianapolis. The meet serves as our first look at this year’s team, which includes the winner on the women’s side of the Butler Twilight last year, junior Josephine Threstup. This year’s Big East Championships will also be held in Indianapolis. The meet begins at 6:45 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 1:

Men’s and Women’s Tennis in Butler Pro-Am

The Butler Pro-Am, the men’s and women’s tennis teams’ main way of receiving funding for the season, is set for Saturday with the women beginning at 9 a.m. and the men’s flight beginning at 1 p.m. Tickets to the event are sold and nearly all of the profits are split evenly between the two teams for their upcoming season. It will be the first event for Matt Moore, the women’s tennis interim head coach, after former coach Tayo Bailey accepted a head coaching position at another university. Details for registering for the event can be found on Butler’s website. The event will take place at the Butler outdoor tennis courts.

Volleyball vs Eastern Illinois

In the second leg of the Top Dawg Challenge, the Bulldogs host a matinee game versus the Eastern Illinois Panthers out of the Ohio Valley Conference. Last season, the Panthers finished with a .500 record both in and out of conference (8-8 in OVC, 15-15 overall). First-year coach Julie Allen will look to improve upon that mark this year. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Butler head coach Sharon Clark is in her 19th season leading the Bulldogs. First serve is in Hinkle Fieldhouse at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Football at Youngstown State

The Butler football team opens up its season on Saturday with a tilt against the Youngstown State Penguins out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Coming off a 6-5 season, Bulldog seniors Will Marty and Pace Temple will look to connect early and often in Youngstown. Despite sharing a similar 6-5 record in 2017, the Penguins put up some good fights a season ago. In their opener, they took Power 5 member Pittsburgh to overtime despite a losing effort and came up just three points short in overtime against eventual FCS national champion North Dakota State. Key returning players from that squad include leading rusher Tevin McCaster, who scored 13 touchdowns on the year, and leading passer Nathan Mays. Kickoff from Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio is at 2 p.m., and the game can be followed on ESPN+.

Volleyball vs Illinois State

For their last game of the Top Dawg Challenge, the Butler volleyball team takes on the Illinois State Redbirds. A season ago, the Redbirds finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference before reaching the semifinals of their conference tournament, succumbing to Northern Iowa. The Redbirds were also invited to the 2017 National Invitational Volleyball Championship, defeating IUPUI before losing to Green Bay, 3-1. In an exhibition this year, Illinois State shut out Big East member DePaul, 3-0. First serve at Hinkle Fieldhouse is at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 2:

Women’s Soccer at Kansas

To round out a jam-packed week of Butler sports, the women’s soccer team will travel out to Lawrence, Kansas, to face the Jayhawks from the University of Kansas. In what should be an entertaining battle between two teams receiving votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches poll, the Jayhawks host Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. One week after facing a ranked Notre Dame squad, the Bulldogs must take on yet another ranked team, as Kansas appears at 18 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. This is a big turnaround for the Jayhawks, as they finished last year with an 8-9-3 record and were bounced in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. Kickoff from the Soccer Complex at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence is at 8 p.m.

Follow Drew on Twitter: @drew_sandifer

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