Butler women’s soccer falls late to the Illinois Fighting Illini

Sophomore defender Alexandra Pulaski dribbles away from the Illini opposition on Aug. 25. Photo by Claire Runkel

CALEB DENORME | SPORTS REPORTER | cdenorme@butler.edu

The Butler women’s soccer team lost a tightly contested game at home on Aug. 25 to Illinois. The Bulldogs were riding high after their impressive victory last weekend against the Michigan Wolverines, but could not repeat the result against similar Big Ten opposition. This early season loss drops the Bulldogs to 2-1 on the year.

The takeaway from this game for Butler was the inability to convert on the offensive end. The Bulldogs outshot Illinois 13-9, but only five of those shots fell on target for the home side while the Illini had six shots hit the target. Butler had intermittent success going forward, but so did Illinois in what would be a very even game right to the death. 

In the final minutes of the match, the Bulldogs looked like they had the away side right where they wanted them. Butler’s press ramped up in the final 10 minutes of the match, pushing Illinois back toward their own goal and forcing the Illini to make errant passes. This resulted in some optimal chances for the Bulldogs, but the ball never found the back of the net.

The 783 fans in attendance had to be patient to wait for the opener, with the deadlock being broken in the 89th minute courtesy of a Julia Eichenbaum breakaway. Eichenbaum timed her run to perfection to go one on one against the keeper, and then skillfully fired the ball into the back of the net with a mere minute left on the clock. The Bulldogs tried to mount one last offensive but fell short in the end, succumbing to a 1-0 scoreline in favor of the away side.

The loss will likely drop the Bulldogs in the United Soccer Coaches national poll, after climbing the standings to 17th after their upset victory over Michigan. This was the highest ranking that the women’s team has ever achieved, usurping being ranked 20th back in October of 2017.

The Bulldogs will defend the Sellick Bowl again next week, looking to avenge their loss against Wright State on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.



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