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Men’s Division I Preview: Big East Battle

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: October 6, 2016

The big game of the week comes from the Big East. No. 8 Creighton hosts No. 10 Butler on Friday night at Morrison Stadium in a showdown of two top 10 teams. The Bluejays (6-1-3, 2-0-1) hold the longest unbeaten streak in the conference with eight consecutive games without a defeat. Butler (8-1-1, 3-0) is trying to keep hold of the top spot in the conference. 

The Bulldogs have been an offensive juggernaut this season. Butler is averaging 2.7 goals per game. Senior forward David Goldsmith has 10 goals in 10 games. Heading into the weekend, Goldsmith is tied for fourth in Division I in goals scored. 

Creighton’s defense has statistically been on even footing with the Butler attack. The Bluejays defense is ranked eighth in Division I in terms of goals against average with a 0.47. Creighton goalkeeper Alex Kapp is third in Division I with a 0.896 save percentage. 

The narrative will be offense against defense as the two teams are built in those manners. Butler is dependent upon the attack clicking to keep the confidence of the group rolling against highly ranked teams. Creighton has been a difficult team to score on since Elmar Bolowich took over as the head coach. 

The Bluejays are undefeated against Butler in six previous meetings (5-0-1) and 4-0-1 as a top-10 team against top-10 teams while playing at Morrison Stadium. Butler has a lot of streaks to snap if the Bulldogs want to take firm control of the Big East on Friday night. 

In order of Butler to be successful, the Bulldogs need goalkeeper Eric Dick to have a big game against the Jays. Dick will be challenged against an attack that has looked impressive lately. Virginia transfer Riggs Lennon has been terrific lately. Orlando City Academy product Noah Franke leads the team in assists with six. However, that attack was held in check last week against St. John’s, which put some added pressure on the group to secure three points at home on Friday night. 

The Big East clash is not the only one on the schedule between top 12 teams for this weekend as No. 1 Notre Dame (9-1, 3-1) hosts No. 12 Wake Forest (8-2-1, 3-1) on Saturday. The Irish need to secure the win after dropping a conference game against Louisville earlier this season. Notre Dame is coming off of an impressive 4-0 win over No. 9 Indiana on Tuesday. 

The aforementioned No. 6 Louisville (8-1-2, 3-0-1) is taking on No. 3 Syracuse (8-2-1, 2-1-1) this weekend. Syracuse was upset on Tuesday by Albany and looking to bounce back quickly with the game against Louisville on Friday. The Cardinals have scored 12 goals in their last two home games so the Orange defense will need to be sharp to slow down Tim Kubel and the Louisville attack. 

TopDrawerSoccer Division I Games to Watch

No. 8 Creighton (6-1-3, 2-0-1) vs. No. 10 Butler (8-1-1, 3-0), Friday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. (ET), Big East Digital Network 

No. 6 Louisville (8-1-2, 3-0-1) vs. No. 3 Syracuse (8-2-1, 2-1-1), Friday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m. (ET), WatchESPN

No. 1 Notre Dame (9-1, 3-1) vs. No. 12 Wake Forest (8-2-1, 3-1), Saturday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m., WatchESPN

No. 16 Charlotte (6-2, 2-1) vs. No. 23 New Mexico (7-3, 1-1) , Saturday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m. (ET), ConferenceUSA 

No. 18 Connecticut (8-3, 2-0) vs. Cincinnati (6-3-1, 2-0), Saturday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m. (ET), uconnhuskies.com 

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