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Butler 2018 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School:  Butler 
Conference:  Big East
Coach:  Paul Snape – 8th Season
2017 Record:  14-5-2 overall, 8-1-0 in conference 
2017 Final Season Ending Rank:  12 by United Soccer Coaches and CSN  
Key Personnel Losses from 2017 Team:  Goalkeeper Eric Dick and midfielders Eric Leonard and Bennet Kim due to graduation.  Butler will also be without midfielder Lewis Suddick.    

Five Year Win Total:

2013:  11

2014:  6

2015:  10

2016:  13

2017:  14

2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed:  31 scored, 23 allowed
2017 Goals Schored and Goals Allowed Per Game:  1.48 scored, 1.10 allowed
2017 Key Statistic:  8-1-0 in Big East Conference play

Background:  Butler comes into the 2018 season off two very productive seasons. In 2016 the Bulldogs won the Big East Tournament and secured the automatic berth into the NCAA Tounament to return to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since 2010. In 2017 Butler claimed the Big East Regular Season title and was awared an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.  The Bulldogs then topped Lipscomb and VCU to advance to the Sweet Sixteen where their season ended with a 2-0 loss on the road to Wake Forest.  The trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2017 was the first for Butler since the 1998 season. 

Butler moved from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2012 and then to the Big East Conference in 2013. 

The Bulldogs have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament a total of eight times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2016, 2017). 

Eric Dick was named the 2017 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year and forward Brandon Guhl was named the Big East Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Dick was also a United College Soccer and College Soccer New All-America Team selection.

Midfielder Lewis Suddick joined Dick and Guhl as All-Big East First Team selections.  Defender Joe Moulden was named to the 2017 All-Big East Second Team. 

Head coach Paul Snape and his staff of Adam Brhu, Jason Perry and Fabian Knopfler were honored as the 2017 Big East Coaching Staff of the Year.   

Number Starters Slated to Return in 2018:  Eight 


Coach Snape stated, "This may be the deepest, and most versatile recruiting class we've put together in our seven years at Butler. This class has an abundance of quality, ability, experience, and most importantly genuine character."  

Louie Bulger – Defender – Tokyo, Japan – William Mason High School – Played for the Columbus Cres SC Academy.  Team captain. 

Eric Conerty – Forward Grand Rapids, Michigan – Forest Hills Central High School – Tallied 40 goals and 12 assists as a senior at Forest Hill Central High School.  First Team All-State.  First Team All-American.  All-Region selection.  Played for the Columbus Crew Academy.

Griffin DeBolt – Defender – Westerville, Ohio – Olentangy Orange High School – Played for Columbus Crew SC Academy.  Invited to the U15 and U17 National Team Camps. 

Gabriel Gjergji – Goalkeeper – Vizenza, Italy – Montverde Academy – Played for Club SIMA in Italy.  Played for Montverde Academy. 

Brendan Hicks – Midfielder –  Phoenix, Arizona – Desert Vista High School – Played for SC Del Sol.  Three-year starter in high school.  Team Captain.  All-City First Team seletion.    

Eric Hollenkamp – Midfielder – Columbus, Indiana – Columbus North High School – Three-year starter in high school.  Team captain.  Played for Westside United and Indiana Fire Academy.  

Logan Lee – Midfielder – Fort Wayne, Indiana – Canterbury School – Second Team All-
State selection.  First Team All-District. 

Jake Streberger – Defender – Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan – Grosse Point North – Played for Vardar Academy.  Team captain.  Also played for 2017 Coerver Academy team.  

Outlook for 2018 Season:  With so many of the same parts returning from the 2017 team that won the Big East Conference Regular Season title and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs will again be among the frontrunners in the Big East Conference and a contender on the national scene.

Butler looks to be in good shape on the offensive side of the ball with an attack that should not miss a beat in 2018 due to the number of skilled playmakers slated to return. Junior forward Brandon Guhl (13g, 3a), who transferred in from SMU last year, was the top goal scorer in the Big East Conference in 2017 with thirteen goals including five game-winners. Guhl is a ruthless goal scorer who is very difficult to contain with the ball at his feet in the attacking third. There is every reason to believe that he will continue to be a force up-top in 2018.

Midfielders Marco Charalambous who missed the entire 2017 season and Jared Timmer who missed all but the first two contests last year due to injury are now healthy and eager to return to the pitch in 2018.  Both were starters in 2015 and 2016.  Charalambous' resume includes four career goals and seven assists.  Timmer led the Big East with nine assists in 2016.  Their return is a huge plus. 

Junior midfielder Isaac Galliford (3g, 7a) who has two years of starting experience under his belt is also back and will provide yet another dimension to the attack.  Galliford has contributed a total of thirteen assists during his two year tenure to date.  Junior Derek Sutton who was a starter last year and sophomore Joel Harvey (1g, 2a) who appeared in seventeen contests with ten starts also return to give Butler a solid core of returning linkmen. 

The entire backline returns intact led by senior Joe Moulden (2g, 1a) who has three years of starting experience under his belt.  Senior Kieran Geldenhuys (2g, 2a) who has been in the starting lineup for the past three seasons, senior Michael Peay (0g, 2a), and junior Alex Lehtinen (2g, 3a) who has been a starter the past two seasons round out an experienced and battle tested backline. Redshirt junior back Braden Van Allen who played in ten contests in 2017 with four starts also looks to be in the mix.

The playmaking ability of midfieder Lewis Suddick will be missed but the biggest gap to fill is the one that exists in goal due to the graduation of All-American netminder Eric Dick who was a four-year starter with twenty-eight career shutouts and a career goals against average of 0.92.  Replacing a highly productive and experienced four-year starter between the pipes is not easy to do and results in an unaswered question that may not be mitigated immediately. The starting job looks to be up for grabs with newcomer Gabriel Gjergji out of the Montverde Prep Academy among those who look to be in the mix.   

The injuries the Bulldogs experienced last year to Charalambous and Timmer and several others likely hampered the Bulldogs. However, on the other hand, it also provided the opportunity for several players to gain playing time and experience that they otherwise might not have had which could prove to be a good thing in 2018.  

Butler seemed to click as a team last year as the season progressed which should provide momentum, focus and confidence heading into the 2018 season.  They have also added an intriguing eight member recruiting class that includes several players who could contribute right away. 

The play in the Big East will again be fierce. Georgetown returns a lot of talent and should again be very competitive while Creighton, Xavier and Providence are among conference members that are likely to field improved teams in 2018.  That means the margin for error will again be small in what should be a trecherous Big East Conference race.

The run to the Sweet Sixteen last year was another step forward for a team oreiented and hungry group at Butler that has a mindset that is focused on accomplishing more. The bottom line is that if a solid presence emerges in goal and the Bulldogs remain healthy and focused, all the ingredients are present for another step forward and special season in 2018. 


Posted in 2018 Team Reviews

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