The Butler Volleyball team (11-8, 1-4) fell to Saint Louis (6-13, 1-4) on Saturday evening three sets to one.
The Bulldogs had to play behind during the entire set except for when they won the first point. Butler was down by as many as six when the score was14-20. The Bulldogs were able to then take five of the next six to bring the score to within two. However, the Billikens were able to close out the set, winning 25-22.
In the second set, the Bulldogs were able to get off to a fast start, and were up 8-3 to force a SLU timeout. The Billikens fought back bring the score to 9-8, but the Bulldogs would not surrender. Butler then took five of the next six to force another SLU timeout.
Butler would maintain a comfortable lead for most of the set. However, SLU had a late-set run, bringing the Bulldog lead to only two. The Bulldogs came out of their timeout on fire, and would take the next two to close out the set, 25-21.
Butler got off to another great start in the third set, up 8-3 at one point. The Billikens would rally, and tie the score up at 11. The middle stages of the set were even, as both teams exchanged leads several times. With the score all tied up at 21, SLU won the next two points to force a Butler timeout.
The Bulldogs were unable to rally, as SLU would take two out of the next three to close out the set 25-22, and lead in 2-1 in sets.
The Bulldgos got off to a slow start in the third set, and were down 1-6. Butler was not able to rally, and lost the set 22-19, and the match three sets to one.
Sharon Clark, head coach of the Bulldogs, said prior to the match that was going to be difficult to beat SLU at home.
“I think that they play very tough at home. Going five [sets] with [Duquesne and George Washington] kind of shows that they have played well at home” said Clark.
Leading the Bulldogs was Maggie Harbison, who had 14 kills. Erica Stahl added six blocks, and Brooke Ruffolo had 24 digs.
Harbison said that the team passed well, but their serving and blocking could have been better
“We missed about 5 or 6 serves in the second set, which cost us the set” said Harbison.
“We didn’t serve as aggressively as we would have probably liked and as a result, we had a lot of service errors” agreed Claire Randich.
Butler had trouble closing out sets during the match. In the first set, Butler was down by two points twice 19-21 and 21-23, but were unable to rally. In the third set, the Bulldogs had a 20-19 lead, but SLU took six of the next eight to win the set 25-22. Randich, who did not practice all week with an injury, said it was a tough match to lose.
“It’s frustrating to see us lose to St. Louis because I thought our team played well all match” said Randich. “I think the difference was that they put away some balls at crucial points, and we didn’t execute as well as we would have liked to.”
“We did struggle closing out the match” said Harbison. “I think that we need to get the ball to our strongest and most consistent hitters at that time.”
The Bulldogs will play SLU again at home in the final regular season game on November 10. “I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to see that team again on our own home court. I know that we will handle things differently next time” said Randich.
The Bulldogs will play at Charlotte on Thursday. Charlotte is coming off a 13-14 overall, 7-8 in-conference record. This year, the 49ers are 8-8 overall, and are 0-4 in-conference.