Butler men’s soccer forward Brandon Guhl in action during a game last season. Collegian file photo.
KEELEN BARLOW | ASST. SPORTS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler fall sports season is jam-packed full of can’t-miss games, matches and meets. Here’s ten sporting events to keep an eye on this fall.
1) Men’s soccer vs No. 2 Indiana (Sept. 24)
This one is a no-brainer. The Indiana athletic department as a whole doesn’t come to Butler to play very often. So, a game like this is a rarity. Take into account that the Hoosiers are a national power-house in men’s soccer (Butler isn’t too shabby either) and you have all the makings of an exciting match.
This series has developed into quite the rivalry since the 2009 season with Indiana holding a 5-2 advantage when it comes to wins (three matches were draws). When IU came to Butler in 2017, more than 6,000 fans showed up for what is the highest attended event at The Sellick Bowl. Expect a near-capacity crowd for this year’s matchup.
2) Football vs No. 1 North Dakota State (@ Target Field) (Aug. 31)
Simply put, an event like this has never happened in the history of the Butler athletic department. That’s why it’s on the list. Butler rarely, if ever, gets the opportunity to play a team as talented as North Dakota State. The Bison have won seven of the last eight FCS Championships and put several players, notably Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, in the NFL in that span.
Don’t go betting a whole lot of money on Butler to win this game, but it’s still a huge deal for a program that doesn’t offer athletic scholarships.
3) Women’s soccer vs No. 7 Georgetown (Oct. 20)
There isn’t a whole lot of depth in the Big East conference behind Georgetown and Butler. So, consider this the match that probably decides the conference’s regular season champion. The two programs have combined for the last three Big East tournament championships, cementing themselves as the premier teams in the conference.
Georgetown has reached the NCAA College Cup in two of the last three years and opens the season in the Top 10 of the United Soccer Coaches poll. Butler rarely gets to play a program of this caliber at on home turf.
4) Volleyball vs No. 18 Creighton (Nov. 17)
Butler has beaten Creighton just once since joining the Big East in 2013 with a 1-11 record against the Blue Jays in that span. But, on the flip side, three of the last four matches between Butler and Creighton have gone five sets, including last year’s match at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It was an electric five setter that Creighton won off a late fifth set run.
Creighton comes into the year on a 19-match unbeaten streak in Big East regular season play.
5) Men’s soccer vs No. 3 Akron (Oct. 8)
This matchup is the first of two for the Bulldogs where a team currently ranked in the top five of the United Soccer Coaches poll comes to play at Butler. A year ago, Butler and Akron opened the year with a 2-2 draw in Ohio.
The Bulldogs will be looking to prove themselves after a disappointing 2018 season. What better way to prove yourself than against a program that is a national powerhouse?
6) Women’s soccer @ No. 15 Wisconsin (Sept. 1)
Part of the reason the women’s soccer team was left out of the NCAA tournament a year ago was their inability to beat quality opponents on the road. Wisconsin is a quality opponent. And Butler is playing on the road.
A win in this matchup would likely go a long way in building a tournament resume for the Bulldogs.
7) Men’s and women’s cross country @ Butler Twilight (Aug. 30)
This will be one of two home meets for the Bulldogs. It’s an all Indiana affair as IUPUI, Wabash, Marian and Ball State will all compete along with the Bulldogs. Both the Butler men and women are coming off a first-place finish at the meet in 2018. The meet will open the programs’ 2019 slate.
8) Football vs Indiana Wesleyan (Sept. 7)
Playing at home under the lights adds a little extra flare to any college football matchup. This game will be the home opener for Butler who looks to kick start some momentum after a 4-7 2018 campaign. Three Bulldogs were picked for the preseason All-Pioneer League team. That list includes DB Luke Sennett on the first team. Indiana Wesleyan went 7-3 last year in the first season in program history.
9) Volleyball vs No. 16 Marquette (Nov. 3)
If the Bulldogs want to compete for a Big East conference championship, they are going to have to beat a team like Marquette, who was picked to win the Big East this year.
The Golden Eagles finished their 2018 campaign in the Sweet 16 and return Big East Preseason player of the year Allie Barber. Preseason All-Big East selection Anna Logan is back from a redshirt year in 2018 and will lead the Bulldogs in their upcoming campaign.
10) Women’s golf @ Butler Fall Invitational (Oct. 7-8)
The Bulldogs will be looking to make a statement in their lone home invite of the fall. After a three-year playing career at Butler, Christie Cates took over as the program’s head coach in June. Cates will look to extend a streak of six straight years in which the Bulldogs have finished in the top three of the event.
Follow Keelen on Twitter: @KeelenBarlow