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Women's Soccer to Open Year at Boilermaker Challenge Cup

August 22, 2014


INDIANAPOLIS – The start of the 2014 women's soccer season is here as the Butler Bulldogs travel to West Lafayette to compete in the 14th annual Boilermaker Challenge Cup. This two-match challenge cup format will feature Butler playing a pair of Mid-American Conference opponents in Ohio and Miami (OH).

The season opener will be played at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex vs. Ohio on Friday, August 22nd with action slated to begin at 4 p.m. After facing the Bobcats for the first time in program history, Butler will take an off day and finish the challenge cup with an 11 a.m. match vs. Miami (OH) on Sunday, Aug. 24.

Scouting the Bobcats
Ohio is coming off a 2013 season that featured seven wins, eight losses and five ties. Three of the seven victories came against MAC opponents with the Bobcats defeating Bowling Green, Buffalo and Toledo. Five ties during the 2013 campaign set a new school record. The Bobcats ended the match even with Wright State, Cleveland State, Miami (OH), Akron, and Western Michigan.

Aaron Rodgers, now in his second season as head coach, and the Bobcats hosted an exhibition contest against UNC Greensboro last Thursday evening which ended in a 2-2 tie. Alexis Milesky and Mollie Whitacre each scored a goal for the Bobcats with Milesky striking early in the seventh minute and Whitacre finding the back of the net in the 84th minute to tie the game at 2-2.

Nicole Amari got the start at goalie for the Bobcats. She made three saves, despite allowing two goals. Amari will be a prime candidate to start in goal on Friday after serving as the back-up goalkeeper during the 2013 season. In her junior campaign, Amari saw action in three games, making two starts. She made eight saves and allowed two goals.

While the goalkeeper may be limited with in game experience, the Bobcat offensive unit will be at full speed with six high impact players returning to the field. Holly Harris, Milesky, Carly Manso, Liz Finley, Allison Cislo and Tonya Frasik were all near the team lead in points last season. Harris, Milesky and Manso all tied for the team points lead with 11. Finley joined Harris and Milesky as top goal scorers on the team with four each. Setting up the action will be senior midfielder Frasik who recorded a team-high six assists a year ago.

Scouting the Redhawks
The Redhawks were one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference a year ago with an 11-6-4 record that included a 7-1-3 mark in conference action. Despite putting together a successful regular season, Miami (OH) was eliminated in the MAC semifinals by Ball State in a shootout after a 0-0 tie at the end of two overtime periods.

The Redhawks continued to get better throughout the 2013 season as they shook off five-straight losses in September to go on a lengthy winning streak to finish off the regular season. After taking a tough 2-1 loss at Akron in the MAC opener, Miami (OH) won seven of their last 10 games with the other three results ending in ties. They were able to defeat Northern Illinois in the opening round of the MAC Tournament, but were sent home after the shootout loss vs. Ball State on Nov. 8.

Head Coach Bobby Kramig will return to the sideline for his 18th season at the helm of the women's soccer program. He will return eight starters from last year's team including two Second Team All-MAC selections in Kelsey Dinges and Courtney Zanotti. Dinges led the team with 20 points last year on seven goals and six assists. She took 62 shots including 25 on goal and was on the field for over 1,582 minutes despite only starting in 15 of 21 games. Zanotti was a defensive specialist that never left the field as she led the Redhawks in playing time with 1,928 minutes of action in 21 starts.

Goalkeeper minutes could be up for grabs this year with the loss of Allison Norenberg to graduation. Vic Maniaci made one start last year during her freshman campaign, but she will have to beat out senior Danielle Wiseman and freshman Alexis Carpenter for playing time. In her lone start of the year, Maniaci was able to earn the win without making a save. The Redhawks earned the shutout victory at IPFW.

Wiseman and Carpenter split time in goal for Miami (OH) in the team's first exhibition contest against Radford. The Redhawks won the match by the final score of 1-0 after a late goal from Rachel Marble. Wiseman started at goalkeeper for the second-straight match against Northern Kentucky in the second exhibition of the early season, but Carpenter once again entered the game for the second half which ended in a 1-1 tie. This time around it was a quick goal by Dinges that put the Redhawks on the scoreboard just 12 minutes into the contest.

All-Time Series
Butler holds a narrow lead over Miami (OH) in the all-time series. A 5-2 home victory during the 2010 season split the series tie to give Butler the 3-2-1 advantage. Butler was able to record a 5-2 win in the most recent matchup in part to three first half goals. Each team pushed two goals across in the second stanza giving BU the win (Sept. 3, 2010). This happens to be the first meeting between Butler and Ohio despite the two programs being separated by approximately four hours (250 miles - Athens to Indianapolis).

Regular Season Openers
Butler has struggled in regular season matches recently, posting a 2-8 record over their last 10 openers. Five of those matches have been played against Louisville (0-5). Season opening wins over the last 10 years came 4-0 over Madonna in 2011 and 1-0 over Eastern Illinois in 2007.

BIG EAST Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
1) Marquette – 81 points (9 first-place votes)
2) Georgetown – 72 (1 first-place vote)
3) St. John's – 64
4) DePaul – 56
5) Butler – 48
6) Villanova – 42
7) Seton Hall – 27
8) Creighton – 24
9) Providence – 22
10) Xavier – 14

Preseason All-Conference Team
Daphne Corboz, Georgetown
Rachel Daly, St. John's
Alex Godinez, DePaul
Serina Kashimoto, Butler
Georgia Kearney-Perry, St. John's
Mary Luba, Marquette
Sophia Maccagnone, Butler
Katie Martin, Villanova
Mady Vicker, Marquette
Elise Wyatt, DePaul
Catherine Zimmerman, Providence

She Shoots, She Scores
Junior midfielder Sophia Maccagnone has 21 career goals through her first two seasons as a Bulldog ranking her 12th all-time for most goals scored in a career. The Shelby Township, Mich. native has a realistic shot to move into the top five of the all-time category as Krista Rott (00-03) currently holds the fifth spot with 25 career goals.

Kaylor from the Corner
Senior Stephanie Kaylor will look to climb up the Butler women's soccer record book in the career assist category. The midfielder has 16 career assists entering her final year, she can move into the top three in the category with five assists this year or climb into the top five by recording three to reach 19 total.

Push Forward
Senior forward Elise Kotsakis could put her stamp on the women's soccer program by leaving as the school's all-time shots leader. The Palatine, Ill. native has 209 career shots to her total just 71 shy of the record. A starter in all 20 games a year ago, Kotsakis ripped off 59 shots. The team leader in the shots category was Maccagnone who rattled off 88.

Up Next at Goalkeeper
Butler lost Julie Burton to graduation, but feel confident that junior Mackenzie Hopkins can make a smooth transition into the starting role. Hopkins played in four games last year, making three starts. She ended the year with eight saves and one win.

Future Star
Serina Kashimoto quietly had a fantastic freshman season as the Hiroshima, Japan native totaled two assists in 20 games from her midfield position. Her BIG EAST peers noticed her outstanding play as she was recognized as a Second Team All-Conference performer

Diverse Competition
Over 17 games this weekend, BIG EAST teams will oppose 12 different conferences, including multiple matches against the Big 10, Mid-American and Colonial. The league went a combined 58-25-13 (.672) against non-conference foes in 2013, which included six NCAA Tournament matches. BIG EAST schools boasted .500 or better records against 18 of the 23 leagues faced, including undefeated marks against nine conferences. 

A Look Ahead
Butler will end the month of August with a road match at No. 13 Nebraska on Friday, Aug. 29. The Bulldogs will face the Cornhuskers at 6:30 p.m.

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