ERIC ROBINSON | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler volleyball team will be tested once again in a rivalry game against Xavier on Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Coming off of a tough loss on Saturday against conference leading Creighton in which they went up two sets to none only to drop the last three sets to lose the match 3-2, the Bulldogs, who now have an overall record of 18-9, will try to bounce back in a crucial match against the Musketeers.
“I hope that something like what we experienced on Saturday will just make us hungrier for a win on Friday against Xavier and certainly make us a little more mentally tough,” head coach Sharon Clark said.
The two teams are very similar with how they have played so far this season in the conference and the conference standings show that with Butler one game ahead in fourth place with a 10-5 conference record and Xavier, 9-6 in the conference, right behind them in fifth. The top four teams make the conference tournament and with only three games left for each side, this game is a very important one for both teams.
Senior Erica Stahl said she knows exactly how big this game is.
“We know that we have a lot to lose if we don’t win this game,” Stahl said, “but that also excites us and gives us more energy to go out and prove to everyone we deserve to be where we are in this conference.”
Clark said that there are a few keys to success for Butler going into this game.
“We’ve got to have a higher hitting percentage,” Clark said, “but more than that we need to play great defense and I know that the team is up to the task.”
Senior Stephanie Kranda said that serving will be another important aspect for the Bulldogs.
“Serving aggressively will be a key for us,” Kranda said, “the harder we make it for them to pass a ball, the easier it will be for us to keep control of their offense.”
The Musketeers, who come into this game with a 16-11 overall record, are led in part by Sophomore Abbey Bessler and Senior Aubree Smith.
The rivalry between the two schools will also help make this already important match even more intense. Senior Belle Obert said that the rivalry will definitely make an impact.
“It’ll definitely add to the excitement of the game,” Obert said. “We know going into this game that a win gets us into the conference tournament, so that combined with the rivalry will make for a pretty intense game.”
“It’s a great rivalry,” Clark said. “They’re our travel partner and they’re close but they’re also a very good team so we always get up to play Xavier and I think that will make it a big match in and of itself.”
Clark said that it was great to be in front of the home crowd again and that she hopes for more of the same on Friday.
“It was great for us to finally play back at home this weekend,” Clark said. “The crowds were good and we’re hoping to have that support on Friday night.”