AUSTIN MILLER | STAFF REPORTER
After five consecutive weeks of travel, the Butler volleyball team is finally ready to play a home match.
Nine wins and five losses after its opening match of the year in Lexington, Kentucky, the Bulldogs are poised to make their home debut this Friday and Saturday against conference foes Seton Hall University and Villanova University.
These matches are not “true” home contests, though. They will be played at Shortridge High School, located just under two miles from campus on Meridian Street. Shortridge will act as host for the Bulldogs this weekend in light of the renovations being made to Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“We are really excited,” freshman setter Makayla Ferguson said. “It will be nice to finally play in front of some home fans for a change.”
The Bulldogs enter the weekend at 9-5 overall and 1-1 in the conference after splitting their opening two matches this past weekend.
Butler dropped the opener against Creighton University 3-1, but took the next match against Georgetown University by the same count.
“Overall, it was a decent weekend for us,” senior Belle Obert said. “We feel like we left some opportunities out there against Creighton, and we know we should have played better. (Georgetown) was one where we were just glad to get out of there with a win because it was a hard-fought match, and the travel from the weekend really took a toll on us.”
The travel totalled more than 2,000 miles by air in the span of around 40 hours. The team did not return to campus until early Monday morning.
Seton Hall is one of three remaining teams undefeated in the Big East conference. The Pirates are led by twin seniors Stacey and Shelby Manthorpe, the latter was voted to the pre-season All-Big East team.
“Seton Hall returns almost their entire starting lineup, so they definitely have the experience,” head coach Sharon Clark said. “We are really going to have to work on stopping the twins because they kind of lead everything for them.”
“(The Pirates are) much improved over last year and always have a dynamic offense, so we are going to need to buckle down and be prepared,”Obert said.
The second game of the weekend pits Butler against the Villanova. The Wildcats are coming off of a win against St. John’s last week, and a loss to Seton Hall in their last game.
“Villanova is definitely a sleeper team this year,” Clark said. “They are known to be very streaky during matches, so we will need to avoid those to be successful.”
Regardless of the competition, the Bulldogs will use the travel-free weekend as a refresher.
“It’s definitely a relief to not have to travel for once,” Obert said. “You could absolutely say we’re glad to be home.”