Bulldogs start season strong with 3-1 weekend

Whitney Beck (15) celebrates with the team. Photo by Jimmy Lafakis

The Butler University volleyball team finished 3-1 at this weekend’s Bulldog Brawl. The matches were held at Hinkle Fieldhouse, marking the first time in head coach Sharon Clark’s tenure in which the Bulldogs hosted the season’s first games at home.

The Bulldogs started off strong Friday afternoon, defeating Stony Brook University in three sets. Sophomore outside hitter and middle blocker Brooke Gregory posted a match-high 14 kills to boost Butler to the 25-14, 25-23, 23-16 victory.

“We have a lot of options, we just have to learn how to use them a little better,” Clark said. “We’re just at the beginning of the season, so we will get back in the gym and refine some things.”

The Bulldogs stole a five-set thriller in the second match, defeating Oakland University 21-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 15-10. Butler lost to Oakland in five sets last season. This time around, senior setter Makayla Ferguson achieved a triple-double, adding 46 assists, 14 digs and 10 kills to result in a tournament MVP title.

“That was a great win for us,” Ferguson said. “We felt really good after that one. We played with a lot of good chemistry and we fought really hard.”  

Saturday morning brought another five-set showdown, and the Bulldogs found themselves victorious once again. The home team defeated Robert Morris University 21-25, 25-21, 25-18, 27-25, and 15-4.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Whitney Beck paced the Bulldogs with 24 kills, 17 digs and seven blocks. Junior libero Taylor Takeda added a match-high 19 digs, while the two players posted two service aces apiece.

“We had a really good flow to the team at times,” Ferguson said. “We were clicking really well, which is something that is great to have this early in the season.”

Butler dropped the final match to Eastern Michigan University in four sets. The freshmen duo of outside hitter Natalie Ravenell and middle blocker Rachel Klitzing were named to the All-Tournament Team after the 15-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23 loss.

“We will learn from this match,” assistant coach Sofia Sanchez said. “You can learn from a hard loss like this.”

The Bulldogs will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face the University of Michigan on Sept. 1.

 

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