Volleyball gets first game in Hinkle

ERIC ROBINSON | STAFF REPORTER

After a five-game road trip, the Butler volleyball team will play its first real home game of the season.

After going 4-1 on the road trip and 8-2 in their last ten games dating back to Oct. 4, the Bulldogs are ready for their first “real” home games of the season.

The Bulldogs play Friday against Georgetown University and Saturday against Creighton University, which leads the Big East Conference.

For the first time this season, the Bulldogs will play a home game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and head coach Sharon Clark said the team is glad to finally be home.

“We have been playing well on the road,” Clark said. “We’re hoping to get some energy from being at home and having a hometown crowd.”

Butler enters this week 17-8 overall and 9-4 in the conference, placing the team fourth in the standings. With only four teams making the conference tournament, Clark said the Bulldogs are determined to make sure that they are one of them.

“It is a very tight race,” Clark said, “and there are a lot of really good teams in Big East volleyball.”

Senior outside hitter Belle Obert said she knows how tight the race is and knows how crucial these last five games are.

“We can’t have any letdowns,” Obert said. “We have to come out with our best play for these next five games, no matter who we are playing.”

That all starts on Friday night against Georgetown. 

The Hoyas are 9-16 and eighth in the conference, with a conference record of 3-9. Butler handed Georgetown one of those nine conference losses back on Sept. 28 and are hoping for similar results Friday.

Senior middle blocker Erica Stahl said she knows how big slowing down Georgetown’s middles will be in this match.

“They rely heavily on their middles, more so than other teams, to get them points,” Stahl said. “And if we can stop their middles as well as we stopped their outsides the last time we played them, we should be in great shape.”

The second match for the Bulldogs is against Creighton, (18-7, 11-1). The Bluejays have won six straight matches and are led by seniors Kelli Browning and Leah McNary. 

“Creighton is a very good team,” Clark said. “They are tough to stop offensively. But I think, for us, we want to focus on playing great defense and just hustling to keep the ball in play.”

Obert also said she sees the Creighton offense as the main focus point.

“They have a couple of very effective and efficient hitters that lead them consistently,” Obert said. “So if we can keep them under control, we will be in good shape.”

Regardless of where they started the season, the Bulldogs are looking forward to finishing the regular season in their real home court.

“It is very exciting,” Obert said. “It is going to be an amazing feeling to be back home and playing on that court.” 

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