Volleyball: Butler rises in conference standings

The Butler volleyball team won two matches over the weekend to pick up their ninth and 10th conference wins of the season and gain sole possession of third place in the Horizon League.

The Bulldogs (14-13, 10-5) grabbed their fourth consecutive victory when they topped Loyola in four sets on Saturday afternoon in Chicago.

Photo by Taylor Cox

The Bulldogs played even with the Ramblers (4-20, 1-13) through part of the first set before going on a 6-0 run that would eventually lead them to a 25-19 set victory.

The second and third sets would see each team score a combined 49 points, with the Ramblers taking the second set 26-24 and the Bulldogs taking the third set 25-23.

Butler would use the momentum from its victory in the third set to take control of the match in the fourth set.

In that set, the Bulldogs jetted out to a 16-9 lead and held off the Ramblers to clinch the match.

“I think the main thing is that we are all sticking together,” freshman libero Brooke Ruffolo said. “Before every game we scout the other teams intensely, and we learn their tendencies.

“It’s just one of those times in the season where everything is coming together.”

Butler was led by freshman outside hitter Belle Obert’s 21 kills and Ruffolo’s team-high 15 digs.

The third victory of the Bulldogs’ current four-match win streak came in a five-set win over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Thursday.

Butler raced out to an early two-set advantage over the Phoenix (10-16, 5-7). The Bulldogs won the sets 25-22 and 25-19, respectively.

However Green Bay fought back to take two close sets, 25-23 and 25-21, respectively.

Butler regrouped and jumped out to an early lead in the deciding fifth set.

The Phoenix would pull within one point at 10-9 but would get no closer as the Bulldogs went on to win five of the last six points to seal the five-set victory 15-10.

Obert led the team with 16 kills, Ruffolo had 37 digs and senior middle back Maureen Bamiro added 13 blocks.

After starting 1-4 in Horizon League play, Butler has won nine out of its last 10 conference matches and is in third place in the Horizon League with one match remaining.

The Bulldogs conclude conference play on Friday when they head to Dayton, Ohio, to take on Wright State.

“We owe it to our senior to win the last conference match for her and go out with a bang,” Ruffolo said.  “Beating Wright State is going to be great, and I can’t wait.”

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