Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers ready to take on unranked Butler

Junior midfielder Daniel Kelly breaks through two Kentucky defenders Sept. 29 at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The #14 Hoosiers take on the unranked Butler Bulldogs tonight at 7 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Junior midfielder Daniel Kelly breaks through two Kentucky defenders Sept. 29 at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The #14 Hoosiers take on the unranked Butler Bulldogs tonight at 7 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

For the first time this season, the No. 14 IU men’s soccer team faces an opponent from Indiana when it plays Butler at 7 p.m. today at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

“For one, they’re in-state, so that means they’re kind of a rivalry for us,” junior forward Neil Wilmarth said. “They haven’t lost but one game so far this year, so this is going to be a big game for them. If they come here, play well and get the chance to beat us, that helps them big time.”

A win for the 5-3-1 Hoosiers would be helpful to the program as well, since they’re coming off a disappointing 3-0 loss to then-No. 11 Cal-Santa Barbara.  

“It’s a good, tough game for us to get back some momentum that we had,” Wilmarth said.

Butler is 6-1-1 and second in the Horizon League behind UW-Green Bay.  

Before the season began, IU coach Mike Freitag cited Butler as an opponent IU should not overlook, and he continues to believe that.

“Just look at their record – they’ve only got one loss,” Freitag said. “They’re well-coached. They’re a hard-working team. This type of game is their big game of the season. Their schedule is one where they have certain teams they have to play, but then they have to get that one big win. Indiana’s one they want to get.”

Butler will be the first unranked opponent to visit IU this season.

The Bulldogs have had trouble getting wins against IU in the past.

The Hoosiers won the last five meetings between the two programs, outscoring Butler 16-2 in the streak.  

The Hoosiers lead the all-time series with a record of 18-1-1.

Wilmarth said if the Hoosiers play their style of soccer, they should have no trouble continuing IU’s fortunes against the Bulldogs.

“If we play the way we can, we shouldn’t lose to anyone in the country,” he said. “If we put away our chances and play a full 90-minute game, we should be fine. It shouldn’t be an issue.”

While the teams have a lengthy history, three players with former soccer ties also will take the field tonight.

Butler junior midfielder Troy Blewitt won a state title for Carmel High School in 2006 alongside IU midfiedlers Rich Balchan and Tyler McCarroll.

Tonight is the third meeting between the three since their high school championship run. McCarroll, a redshirt sophomore, has only played in two of the meetings.

But when IU and Butler take the pitch, those high school ties will mean a lot less than they did a few years ago.

Those former teammates have fared differently this season, though Freitag said IU will be prepared for Butler.

“I like where we’re at right now,” Freitag said. “We know where we’re at. We play good teams, we know where our weaknesses are, and we know where to improve. Now we
go on and play.”

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