HUNTINGTON — Pedro Dolabella scored two goals, goalkeeper Oliver Semmle recorded another shutout and coach Chris Grassie reached a milestone Wednesday when Marshall blanked Butler, 2-0, in front of 1,106 fans at Hoops Family Field.
The Thundering Herd (5-1-3) got one goal in each half. Semmle stopped four shots for his third straight shutout, but faced no real testers like he did last Saturday against Kentucky in a 0-0 double overtime draw.
“We lacked a bit of precision at times,” Grassie said. “Not as precise as we want to be. We were able to get our possession game going, good series of passes. Overall a good performance. Learned lessons from Kentucky.”
Grassie is now 50-25-13 in year five. This was his 88th match, making him the fastest to 50 wins. Jack DeFazio (1982-88) previously reached 50 in 89 matches.
For Dolabella, this was his first career-two-goal game. He’s tied for the team lead in goals (five) with Vinicius Fernandes, who did assist on both of Dolabella’s scores.
Dolabella now has 18 goals for his career and is tied for seventh all-time in program history with Ryan LaPoint (1989-93) and David Vollmer (1988-91). Dolabella has 50 career points which ties him for eighth all-time with Ian Leggett (1996-99).
“I’m playing closer to goal, attacking position,” Dolabella said. “I’m comfortable in there (box). As soon as I get in the box, the ball always comes. I’m glad to be in the right place at the right time twice, contribute to the team.”
Dolabella’s first goal came at 22:33 with setups by Fernandez and Joao Souza. His second game at 76:40 with assists to Milo Josef and Fernandes. He nearly had two more goals, but one shot hit the crossbar and Butler keeper Gabriel Gjergji made a dive and stopped the ball with his left hand.
For Butler (3-5-1), this was the sixth match it’s failed to score.
“Great team defensive performance,” Grassie said. “He (Semmle) was there to scoop things up. All good on that side of the ball.”
Marshall beat the Bulldogs for the second straight time to even the all-time series at 2-2.
Marshall now gets back to Conference USA play. A two-game road trip starts Sunday against Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. The Thundering Herd visits Florida Atlantic on Oct. 9.
Grassie said the Herd is starting to round into the form it showed last season when it won the league title. Marshall had little down time from the NCAA championship win in May to the start of the 2021 season in late August.
“Fitness was not where it needs to be as in individual or group,” Grassie said. “It was have you done since you achived your dream. We all wrestle with that. Get back in the process, love the process. We get to play soccer together.
“We’ll have to be tough, manage our bodies. Get our legs off the bus trip. Make sure we’re sharp, up for it. The first 15 minutes sets the tone. Build from there.”
Late in the match, the Herd’s Ibrahama Diop had a good chance to score, but Butler defender Griffin DeBolt charged in to kick the ball away from the net.