Volleyball faces critical stretch as season ends

ERIC ROBINSON | STAFF REPORTER

The Butler volleyball team heads into the final week of the regular season with a lot on the line. They square off against Providence College on Friday and St. John’s University on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs (18-10, 10-6) are coming off a loss against Xavier in four sets this previous weekend. This put the two in a tie for the last spot in the conference tournament. IMG_6394

Xavier holds the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs, which makes these last two games even more crucial.

“There’s still a chance that we can get into the conference tournament because everybody still has games this weekend,” head coach Sharon Clark said, “but the thing that we can do best is just to win both games and keep ourselves in the running.”

The Bulldogs are now looking past the loss to Xavier and are moving forward to what they can control in this weekend’s matches against Providence and St John’s.

The weekend begins on Friday when the Bulldogs host Providence. The Friars are 6-24 this season, and 2-14 in conference play, which puts them ninth in the Big East. They are led by sophomore Kayla Johnson and junior Jordan Wiesler. 

The Bulldogs swept the Friars 3-0 on Oct. 11 at Providence.

Clark said the biggest key for the Bulldogs will be limiting the outside hitters of the Friars.

“Their outsides are hitting well for them right now so we’ve got to block well against them,” Clark said.

Senior Belle Obert said the Bulldogs cannot let Providence’s record affect their play.

“We definitely can’t take them lightly,” Obert said. “Their record may not be the best, but they have been playing really well lately so we can’t underestimate them by any means.”

The Bulldogs will end the regular season against St. John’s on Saturday. The last time these two squared off, the Red Storm won at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, New York in three sets. 

St. John’s enters this week at 19-12 overall and 8-8 in conference, which is good for sixth in the Big East. 

Clark said a lot has changed since the last time they met on Oct. 10.

“We didn’t play well when we were at their place,” Clark said, “so I think it will be a different match on Saturday.”

Clark said good passing could be a difference maker on Saturday.

“We just have to pass much better,” Clark said, “and I think if we can pass well then we can run our offense and we should be successful.”

Saturday night is also Senior Night, which Clark said that the team is excited for.

“We’re definitely happy to be home especially for Senior Night,” Clark said. “We have six seniors, so it’s nice to end their final regular season conference match here on their home turf.”

The players also know how important these games are. Senior Erica Stahl said she realizes these games are make or break.

“We all know that we have everything to lose if we don’t come out and give it our all,” Stahl said, “so we know we are going to come out aggressive and ready to win because we’re not ready to be done.”

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