Butler volleyball earns first win of season, drops two matches in Top Dawg Challenge

The Butler volleyball team celebrates following a play during the Top Dawg Challenge. The team is now 1-5 on the season after picking up their first victory. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Lafakis.

JIMMY LAFAKIS | STAFF REPORTER | jlafakis@butler.edu

The Butler University volleyball team went 1-2 at the Top Dawg Challenge on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The matches were Butler’s first three home contests of the year.

After falling to Auburn University on Friday night, the Bulldogs split a pair of games on Saturday against Eastern Illinois University and Illinois State University.

Butler fell 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 to the visiting Tigers on the first night of the tournament. Sophomore outside hitter Natalie Ravenell led the Bulldogs with 12 kills, while senior setter Maddie Freiwald tied a match-high with 30 assists. The Bulldogs recorded 33 digs in the match, as opposed to Auburn’s 25.

“I see our ability to play incredible defense as a good area of our game to build around,” assistant coach Sofia Sanchez said. “Our defenders did an all-around fantastic job. We are definitely looking to feed off our defense and improve our transition offense.”

Butler swept the Saturday matinee, defeating the Panthers 25-18, 25-18, 28-26. Junior setter Megan Ramseyer posted 32 assists, nine digs, five kills and a block in the win. Senior middle blocker/outside hitter Bri Lilly hit .412 and recorded eight kills off 17 attempts, with just one error.

“We play well in stretches,” head coach Sharon Clark said. “But we can’t string it all together. We have to get to practice and get to business.”

Lilly recorded team-highs in kills (nine) and blocks (six) as the Bulldogs fell 25-19, 25-15, 25-18 to the eventual champion Redbirds on Saturday night. Junior middle blocker/outside hitter Brooke Gregory posted seven kills, while sophomore outside hitter Shay Horn added six kills of her own.

“We definitely see our weak spots and can focus on what we need to work on all week,” Lilly said. “We will work on keeping our energy up throughout every minute on the court and coming back from small deficits quickly.”

Freshman defensive specialist/libero Elizabeth LaBue was named to the Top Dawg Challenge All-Tournament Team following Saturday night’s match after averaging nearly 10 digs per game over the weekend.

The Bulldogs will hit the road to participate in the Arkansas Classic on Sept. 8 and 9.

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