Mariah Grunze and Amina Shackelford celebrate a point against Denver on Sept. 2. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.
JIA SKRUDLAND | SPORTS REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
After a strong showing at the Top Dawg Challenge last weekend, the Bulldogs fell short at the Denver Invitational going 1-2 this past weekend against Hofstra, Denver and Portland on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3.
The team opened up the Invitational strong on Friday, Sept. 2, sweeping Hofstra with scores of 25-15, 25-14 and 25-21. Senior Megan Sheridan and sophomore Mariah Grunze led the way with 10 kills each and freshman Cora Taylor racked up 32 assists. As a team, Butler out-killed Hofstra 41- 29 and limited their errors to 10. Throughout the entirety of the match, the Bulldogs didn’t allow Hofstra to climb their way back resulting in only two lead changes, both of which were in the first set.
Although the team was able to sweep Hofstra, the Dawgs ran into problems against Denver later that evening. Throughout the match, Butler found themselves coming back from deficits. Denver coasted in the rest of the first set after having an early 11-3 run. The second set looked more promising after back to back kills by Gruze resulting in a 9-8 deficit, but, once again, Denver pulled away into a 19-11 lead and took off from there. The Bulldogs were able to make the match a fight after coming away with a 25-22 set victory, but Denver’s lead in the fourth set put the Bulldogs away with final scores of 15-25, 16-25, 25-22 and 14-25. Despite the tough match, senior Jaymeson Kinley recorded a match-high of 23 digs and Taylor had 40 assists.
Butler faced Portland on Saturday, Sept. 3 to close out the weekend in Denver. The story isn’t much different from the match against Denver except that the Pilot’s swept the Bulldogs in three straight sets. Although sets one and two both concluded with close scores of 20-25, the Pilot’s limited Butler to a .094 hitting percentage which isn’t a great recipe for success. Nothing went quite well for the Bulldogs in this match losing 20-25, 20-25 and 13-25.
The Bulldogs will look to rebound against Boise State on Friday Sept. 9 at 12 p.m. EST when they compete at the Boise State Tournament in Idaho.