Green Bay Men's Soccer Ties #6 Butler but Falls in Shootout
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - It was the same story but with a different ending Sunday afternoon for the Green Bay (13-4-2) men's soccer team, as the Phoenix fell to host and top-seeded Butler (16-0-3) 3-2 in penalty kicks in a Horizon League Championship that was settled in a shootout at the Butler Bowl in Indianapolis.
The Bulldogs, undefeated and ranked sixth nationally, avenged a similar result to Green Bay in the 2009 Horizon League Championship and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. A team from the Horizon League has earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament in three of the past four seasons, and at 13-4-2 and winners of nine of its last 10 games, Green Bay will hope to earn a spot in the field during Monday's selection show.
Green Bay needed a late goal from David Bernhardsson (Tjorn, Sweden) to tie the game at 1-1 and force overtime, keeping its hopes for back-to-back titles alive. With less than two minutes to play, senior JC Banks (Milwaukee, Wis.) bought time facing three defenders before laying the ball in the box. Bernhardsson got a foot on Banks' pass and flicked the ball in the lower left corner of the net for the equalizer.
Neither team threatened seriously in the first overtime period, but both squads had chances in the second. Butler had a good look at the goal with just under three minutes to play, but goalkeeper Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) came up with the save for the Phoenix. Moments later, junior Tony Walls (Waukesha, Wis.) ripped a shot but had it deflected wide.
That set the stage at the Butler Bowl for a familiar scene as the championship game was decided by PKs for the second consecutive season and second time in Horizon League history.
Shooting first, senior David Prochazka (Gothenburg, Sweden) placed Green Bay's first attempt in the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead, but Butler matched Prochazka's kick with a shot to the lower left corner.
Walls landed Green Bay's second attempt in the lower left corner to put the Phoenix in front again, 2-1. Wehking guessed correctly on Butler's second kick, but could not get his gloves on it as the Bulldogs tied it at two.
Both teams missed in the third round of the best-of-five shootout. Banks, Green Bay's prolific scorer, ripped a shot past Butler keeper Fabian Knopfler only to see it ricochet off the right post. Wehking then made a great save to keep the score tied.
Bernhardsson took Green Bay's fourth shot but was denied by Knopfler, and Butler converted its fourth attempt to lead for the first time and place the pressure on the Phoenix.
Senior Scott Raymonds (Brookfield, Wis.) fired a shot to the left corner, but Knopfler guessed right and made the save to give Butler its first Horizon League Championship title since 2001.
Butler had initially taken the lead in the championship game with a 36th-minute goal. The Bulldogs' Kyle Pateros found Austin Oldham at the top of the box on the left side. Oldham fired between two defenders as Wehking was shielded and scored the only goal of the first half to give Butler the 1-0 lead it would hold until Bernhardsson's 89th-minute equalizer.
Banks, Walls and Prochazka each earned spots on the All-Horizon League Tournament team for Green Bay, who had its nine-game winning streak halted with the result.