Graduate defender Aliya Diagne was selected to the All-Big East Second Team by the conference’s head coaches for the 2022-23 season. Collegian file photo.
JULIA LORELLI | SPORTS REPORTER| firstname.lastname@example.org
The women’s soccer team has had a troublesome start to their season, losing three out of their first four games.
Their first home game on Thursday, Aug. 17 was a 3-0 loss against the Virginia Tech Hokies. While the teams were evenly matched throughout the first half, the Hokies were able to break the tie at the 53 minute mark with a goal by junior Lauren Gogal. First-year Samantha DeGuzman and sophomore Natalie Mitchell added one goal a piece in the second half to give the Hokies a decisive victory over the Bulldogs. Senior Claire Farrington was issued her second yellow card in the 69th minute and ejected from the game, forcing the Bulldogs to play with just 10 players.
The team came roaring back in their next game as they shutout the Illinois State Redbirds at home on Sunday, Aug. 20 by a score of 3-0. Junior Alexei Whittaker scored her first collegiate goal to put them up 1-0 early in the 20th minute. In the second half, first-year Norah Jacomen helped secure the Bulldogs’ victory by adding two more goals. Butler’s defense played incredibly as they did not allow one shot on goal during the entire 90 minutes.
The Bulldogs traveled north on Thursday, Aug. 24 for their first away game of the season to play the No. 12 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They met the challenge set by the Irish for the first half, scoring first with a goal by Jacomen in the 55th minute. However, the Irish bounced right back two minutes later with graduate student Kristina Lynch tying the game at one a piece. The Irish then proceeded to score three more goals with one of them being a penalty shot and ended up winning 4-1.
Butler headed further north to take on the Western Michigan Broncos on Aug. 27. Bria Telemaque, a fifth year student at Western Michigan, scored the only goal, thus leading the Broncos to victory over the Bulldogs by a score of 1-0. Throughout the game, each team was issued three yellow cards. The Bulldogs struggled to find the net as they did not get a shot on goal until the second half, which dropped them to 1-3-0.
Even though the results are not what fans would like to see, the women’s soccer team is full of powerhouse players that just need the final pieces to connect before they become a force to be reckoned with.
On the field, there are many accomplished players such as Jacomen. She played for Elite Clubs National League Football Club Alliance where she received All-Conference First Team honors from Ohio Valley ECNL and was also the number 6 ranked player in the South Region according to TopDrawer Soccer. She was selected to All-State teams for her play at Hardin Valley Academy along with All-Region and All-District honors. After the 2022 season, she was honored as District Offensive Player of the Year after producing 30 goals and 10 assists.
Sophomore Amelie Darey is another big threat to opponents, as she was selected to the All-BIG EAST Freshman Team and made 18 appearances in her first season as a Bulldog with 16 of them being starts.
Junior Leila Lister played for Reading Women’s Football Club (WFC) where she received a Golden Boot while on the U21 side. She’s also been capped seven times for Scotland’s U19 national team. She was selected as player of the match for performances against Wales and again against Kazakhstan.
Senior Caitilin O’Malley is a weapon both on and off the field. Before Butler, she made the honor roll four times, was a member of the National Honor Society and student council. Outside of the classroom, she was a US Youth Soccer Michigan State Champion four times, a three-time Midwest Regional and National Champion and named “Best XI Player” at the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championship. She was also a national, regional and state member of the Olympic Development Program, an All-State, All-Region, All-County and All-District selection as a first-year defender. During her time as a Bulldog, O’Malley has started in every match she has played in, and was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team for the 2020-2021 season — making her a stand out player.
The Bulldogs season is just starting and their schedule takes them all over the country from the midwest to Texas to the East Coast. Even though they had a rocky start, the team is looking to be a dangerous competitor as soon as they can fit the pieces together. The Bulldogs have the home advantage with 12 out of their 19 games being at the Bud and Jackie Sellick Bowl. With an exciting, and mostly home, schedule, there are several games that Butler students will not want to miss like when they take on the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs who are currently ranked No. 9 or when they battle the Creighton Bluejays for Butler’s homecoming game.
Although the Bulldogs have not started the season as planned, they battle hard with a team full of great players and will be a tough opponent for any team to compete against.