The Butler volleyball team defeated crosstown rival IUPUI in straight sets last night to extend their win streak to three.
The Jaguars (2-11) were held to 56 points in three sets and struggled to score against Butler’s defense.
The Bulldogs (7-6, 2-0 HL) had eight blocks on the night, 3.5 of which came from junior Maureen Bamiro.
Butler got off to a quick start and never looked back, winning 25-21, 25-21, 25-14.
Bamiro was the team’s offensive leader as well, tallying 16 kills.
Sophomore setter Gina Vera orchestrated the offense, racking up 35 assists in the match.
Butler’s tough early schedule paid off—the team has gone 5-1 since starting the season 2-5.
This was especially true last weekend when Butler started its Horizon League season, playing its first two conference matches on the road.
“It feels good because we’re not in warm up mode anymore,” Vera said.
Butler won each in five sets, defeating Loyola last Friday and Valparaiso last Saturday.
Although Butler lost on the road to both the Ramblers (6-6, 0-2 HL) and Crusaders (11-2, 1-1 HL) last season, the Bulldogs finished strong in both matches this time around.
“To say we were excited [for the start of conference play] is an understatement,” assistant coach Jeff Getz said.
The Bulldogs traded points with the Ramblers during the first set, with neither team leading by more than two points until Loyola finally pulled away to a 25-22 win.
The Bulldogs rallied in the next two sets, winning 25-20 and 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead.
Butler relied on heavy hitting during the match, earning 67 kills.
Senior outside hitter Jessie Wolfe led the team with 19, while Bamiro and freshman Maggie Harbison smashed home 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
Butler had a chance to finish the Ramblers in the fourth set, but Loyola took five straight points and a 26-24 win to even the match.
“Our defense was all out,” Getz said. “We were hitting the floor and getting after everything.
“When we started the fifth game, we told the team to ‘stay aggressive and don’t give away any easy points.’”
The Bulldogs didn’t let the Ramblers steal the momentum.
Butler won the first two points of the final set and never let the Ramblers lead as they edged Loyola 15-13 to win the match.
“We had to really create momentum for ourselves,” Vera said. “In the fifth game, since it’s only to 15, those early points are critical.”
At Valparaiso, Butler faced the Crusaders, who began the season ranked one spot above the Bulldogs in the Horizon League preseason poll.
Butler, undaunted by Valparaiso’s 11-1 record entering the match, started strong by winning the first set 25-18 and the second 25-16.
But the Bulldogs faltered during the third. They hit -.021 and managed only seven kills en route to a 25-13 loss.
Feeding off of 1,236 fans, the Crusaders surged through the fourth set, winning 25-18 to even the match at two sets apiece.
But the Bulldogs rallied, just as they had the night before.
Butler traded points with Valparaiso until Wolfe put down three kills to give Butler a 12-8 lead.
Bamiro ended the Crusaders’ hopes on match point to make the final set stand at 15-11.
“Valpo had a lot of fans and college students that were pretty aggressive with their cheering,” Getz said. “It’s a pretty hostile place to play, but that’s what makes the win even better.”
Harbison, who led the team in blocks last weekend with 0.83 per set, was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 13-19.
Butler will take a three-match win streak into its first home conference match, which is against Wright State Friday at 7 p.m.