The Butler Volleyball team (13-11, 3-7) defeated Fordham (13-16, 5-5) in straight sets on Friday evening in The Bronx at Rose Hill Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs were in the lead or tied for then entire first set except for one point. The Rams would threat, but Butler responded every time to hold the lead. Fordham was able to stave off one set point. But a kill by Claire Randich on the next point put the Bulldogs up 1-0.
In the second set, Fordham led for the beginning stages of the set. The Bulldogs were able to tie it at ten. Later in the set, Fordham took six of eight to force a Butler timeout with the Rams on top 20-19.
Both teams traded points and Fordham was the first to get set point in their favor. Butler won the next point to continue the set. Fordham then got three more set points, and the Bulldogs fought off all of them. Butler then had a set point of their own, but Fordham responded with a kill to extend the set.
The Rams won then next point to give themselves their fifth set point, but Butler again denied them of a victory. The Bulldogs also were unsuccessful on their next set point. But the third time was the charm for Butler. Kelly Kyle knocked in a kill to win a dramatic second set 33-31.
Sophomore Belle Obert said that the key to winning the second set was their confidence and contributions from the bench.
“There wasn’t any point in that set that we thought about losing it, we knew we were going to win it” said Obert. [The bench] really showed the depth of our team. All in all it was just a fun set to play.”
“After winning [the second set] the message was that we can control our own destiny in this match” said Sharon Clark, head coach. “We worked to keep the momentum that came with winning a very tough competitive set 2.”
The third set stared out with a three point run by Fordham. Butler then responded with a six point run to force a Fordham timeout. The score was very close for the majority of the set, no team led by more than two until Butler took two straight to make the score 22-19, and force a Fordham timeout.
Fordham took two of the next three to force a Butler timeout with the Bulldogs up 23-22. The Rams tied the set at 23 on the next point. Butler then took the next two off a kill by Kyle and an error by Fordham to complete the sweep.
Leading the Bulldogs was Randich who had nine kills. Randich, along with Morgan Peterson had five blocks and Belle Obert tallied 11 digs.
vs. Rhode Island
The Butler Volleyball team (14-11, 4-7) defeated Rhode Island (9-15, 5-6) in straight sets Saturday evening in Kingston.
The only lead Rhode Island had for the entire match was when they led 2-1 early in the first set. The Bulldogs led 22-12 late in the set, but the Rams were able to take six of the next seven to force a Butler timeout. Butler then closed out the set three points later off a kill by Claire Randich.
The Bulldogs dominated the entire second set, winning handily 25-13. The third set was won in similar fashion, as the Bulldogs won 25-15 to complete the sweep. Butler held the Rams to a .021 hitting percentage for the match, and held double digit leads in every set. Obert attested their successes this weekend to their blocking.
“Our blocking is consistently a key to our success” said Obert. “When we block a lot of balls, we win and that was the case with this weekend.”
“Our strength all year has been blocking” agreed Clark. “The difference was how well we played the serve and pass game. We were just dominant at both of those skills.”
Leading the Bulldogs was Rachel Barber who had eight kills, Erica Stahl added six blocks, and Belle Obert had eight digs.
This was the Bulldogs’ longest, and final road trip of the year. Butler will play their last three games of the season at home. This weekend, the Bulldogs will take host two teams from Philadelphia. On Friday, Butler plays La Salle and on Sunday, they will play Temple. La Salle is 0-11 in A-10 play, and 4-23 overall while Temple is 6-5 in the A-10 and 16-9 overall.
“We had 2 great wins on the road and now get to finish the rest of the regular season at home” said Clark.