The Butler Volleyball team (10-4) defeated Kent State (3-9) in straight sets on Saturday evening in the final match of the Butler Invitational to finish the weekend 2-1.
Butler started off slow, and was down 6-10 before they took a timeout. It turned out to be changing point, as the Bulldogs would go on to outscore Kent State 19 to six to close out the set by a score of 25-16.
The second set was won in similar fashion. The set was back and forth until the middle stages of the set. With Butler leading 16-15, the Bulldogs would take nine of the next 13 points to close out the set, and take a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
The third set was anything but similar to the first two. The set was close throughout; no team was ever ahead by more than three points. The Bulldogs were faced with set point, but the Golden Flashes had a service error, which tied the score at 24.
This would begin a back and forth in which Butler and Kent State each had four opportunities to put away the set. With Butler leading 31-30, the Bulldogs appeared to win, and began to celebrate on the court. Even the scoreboard keeper had put 32-30 on the scoreboard. But the official made a late call and signaled that the kill by Kent State was in, so the match carried on.
In the end, it was the Bulldogs who were able to win off an ace by sophomore Stephanie Kranda to win the set 34-32 and complete the sweep.
Leading the Bulldogs was sophomore Jadyn Yarling who tallied 13 digs, along with sophomore Kelly Kyle who had 12 digs. Additionally, sophomore Erica Stahl contributed with six blocks, and sophomore Belle Obert led the team with 17 kills.
“I thought we played great defense. We dug more balls than they did, we blocked well, and we were able to transition out and get more kills,” said coach Sharon Clark.
“I think we played a really solid, tough schedule in preseason, and that’s has prepared us to be ready to go in to Dayton and Xavier next weekend and really be ready for them,” Clark said.
The Bulldogs lost to the University of California, Davis three sets to none on Friday evening.
The first set was competitive in the beginning, but the Aggies pulled ahead in the middle stages of the set to a 17-10 lead. The Bulldogs then appeared to be on a late surge; down 15-23 the Bulldogs scored four straight points to force a UC Davis timeout. The Bulldogs were unable to continue the surge, and the Aggies won the first set 25-20.
The second set was also competitive; the Bulldogs took a 9-8 lead to force a UC Davis timeout. The match remained even until the Aggies went on a four-point run to take a 17-14 lead. Butler would not be able to match that rally, and UC Davis won the second set 25-19.
The third set was not as even as the first two. The Bulldogs faced big deficits of 4-10 and 9-17, and were not able to rally as the Aggies won the third set 25-14 to complete the sweep.
Leading the Bulldogs was Yarling who had 22 digs, along with Obert who had 13 kills, and Stahl who had 5 blocks.
In the first match of the invitational, Butler defeated Southeast Missouri State (6-6) three sets to two on Friday afternoon.
The Bulldogs were down two sets to one and faced with elimination. However, they were able to win the final two sets to pull out the victory for their ninth win of the season.
Butler started off the match winning the first set, 25-19, and it looked as though it was going to be a quick match. The Redhawks had different thoughts and would win the next two sets 25-20 and 25-18 to put the Bulldogs on the brink of a loss.
With their back to the wall, coach Sharon Clark made a switch with her outside hitters. The change would prove to be a good one, as Butler would take the fourth set 25-20 to force a winner-take-all fifth set.
In the fifth set, the Bulldogs had to take a quick timeout after trailing early 3-0. Butler was able to rally and would take a 6-5 lead, which they would hold, and eventually close out the set by a score of 15-11.
Leading the Bulldogs was junior Maggie Harbison who had 17 kills, sophomore Erica Stahl who tallied nine blocks, and sophomore Jadyn Yarling had 27 digs. Also contributing was sophomore Belle Obert who had 14 kills and nine digs, along with the help of junior Claire Randich who had six blocks and 12 kills.
The Bulldogs will travel to Dayton on Friday in what will be the first Atlantic 10 Conference match in the history of Butler Athletics. Coach Clark said she is looking forward to the matchup, and believes that the team is ready.