Volleyball: Tides finally turn for Bulldogs

The Butler volleyball team continued a string of good play over the weekend, capturing its second and third wins in a row.

The Bulldogs (8-12, 4-4) took two Horizon League matches at home when they defeated Loyola 3-1 on Saturday before disposing of Green Bay 3-0 on Sunday.

The Bulldogs got off to a quick start against the Phoenix (8-12, 4-4) from Green Bay, taking the opening set 25-21.

Butler kept Green Bay at a comfortable distance throughout the set. The Phoenix were able to pull within a couple points on a few occasions but were never able to close the gap.

The Bulldogs also jumped out to a big lead in the second set before Green Bay began to pressure.

Photo by Taylor Cox

 

Facing a Phoenix set point, senior middle back Maureen Bamiro notched a kill to even the score and then gave Butler the lead two serves later with another kill.

The second set would come to an end when Green Bay made an error, giving the Bulldogs a 27-25 set win.

“We practice working under pressure and in pressure situations all the time,” Bamiro said. “We just tried to focus on making the smart play and not trying to error ourselves out [of the match], and I thought we did a good job of that.”

The Bulldogs did not waste their opportunity to sweep the match, finishing strong to take the final set 25-21.

Bamiro led Butler with 17 kills while freshman libero Brooke Ruffolo recorded a team-high 21 digs.

Freshman outside hitter Kelly Kyle added 18 digs while junior setter Gina Vera finished with 40 assists.

The win Sunday followed a 3-1 victory for the Bulldogs Saturday against Loyola.

The Ramblers (4-12, 1-5) might have come in as the underdog, but they gave Butler all they could handle in the first set, winning it 25-23.

The Bulldogs would respond by taking the next two sets by decisive margins, 25-14 and 25-11, respectively.

“We came out lackadaisical in the beginning,” sophomore outside hitter Maggie Harbison said. “But then we said, ‘OK, we have to step it up, this is our home court,’ and we came out and served and received really well.”

The fourth set proved to be close until Butler finally pulled away to take the set and match 25-19.

Ruffolo led the team with 25 digs and Vera added 41 assists to complement her 12 digs.

Harbison added nine kills for the Bulldogs.

Photo by Taylor Cox

With the sweep, Butler moved to 4-4 in the Horizon League and into fifth place with eight conference matches remaining.

The Bulldogs look to extend their winning streak when they head to Ohio for a pair of weekend contests.

Butler will face Youngstown State on Friday before traveling to Cleveland State to take on the Vikings, who currently hold second place.

The Penguins (2-18, 1-7) from Youngstown State have struggled to get anything going this season, with a win against Loyola as their only conference victory.

The Bulldogs defeated the Penguins earlier in the season 3-0 behind 16 kills from Kyle and 13 digs from Ruffolo.

The Vikings (13-5, 6-1), like the Bulldogs, are currently riding a three-game winning streak.

Cleveland State has defeated every team in the Horizon League except for Wisconsin-Milwaukee this season, including a 3-0 win over Butler in September.

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