Broncos tame Bulldogs with balanced effort
INDIANAPOLIS — A ranked team and an undefeated team met Friday; the No. 21 Butler Bulldogs hosted the Western Michigan Broncos at the Sellick Bowl.
The unbeaten side remained so at the final whistle, while the ranked team likely played its way out of the top 25 in next week’s rankings. Western Michigan topped Butler 3-2 after erasing an early deficit.
Missing a few key players due to injury and illness, Bulldogs head coach Paul Snape was forced into giving a few new faces bigger roles than they were accustomed to.
Dawgs are navigating a few injuries and a few guys who are sick. Tonight is the first Butler start for Clark and Edmunds.
— Butler Men’s Soccer (@ButlerMenSoccer) September 8, 2017
A crucial cog in the middle third for Butler, central defensive midfielder Jared Timmer, was lost for the season with a broken leg suffered in a loss to Louisville. To make matters worse, attacking midfielder Lewis Suddick and regular starting goalkeeper Eric Dick also sat out for the home side.
The result was an uneven, disjointed performance by the Butler midfield and back line. Although senior captain Eric Leonard turned in an excellent shift besides a wayward service that got away from him in the first half, the loss of three of their best players was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Butler wasted no time pouncing early, as sophomore midfielder Isaac Galliford hit the side netting of the far post from close range to give the hosts a 1-0 edge. But the lead was short-lived — remarkably short-lived.
By the 25th minute, Western Michigan had amassed a 3-1 lead after burying a trio of goals in quick succession by three different players: Jake Rufe, Brandon Bye and Anthony Bowie. And all three strikes were assisted by different Broncos. The balance on the scoresheet was indicative of the visitors’ complete team effort on the pitch.
The Bulldogs fought back valiantly, pulling one back in the 88th minute through sophomore forward Brandon Guhl and threatening until the death, but couldn’t produce the equalizer. Western Michigan (4-0-1) held on for the impressive 3-2 road win at the end of the rather entertaining affair. At one point in the match, five total shots had been attempted by both teams combined, and all five were on frame. Four of them found the back of the net.
The Bulldogs (3-2) will host the once-beaten Evansville Purple Aces (4-1) on Tuesday.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KJboxing.
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