RESULT: Butler def. Army 25-14, 32-30, 25-17
INDIANAPOLIS - A dominant defensive effort pushed the Butler volleyball team to a 3-0 win over Army Friday evening at the Butler Invitational at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The win made Butler 2-0 on the day, as the Bulldogs defeated UNC-Wilmington earlier in the day.
Butler (4-5) posted a season-high 12.0 total team blocks and had five players with at least eight digs in the defensive effort. Sophomore Gina Vera had a match-high 16 digs to go along with her 33 assists. Senior Katie Daprile had 13 digs, including one highlight-reel play where she went flying into the Butler bench to save a point late in the second set.
"Our defense was awesome," head coach Sharon Clark said. "We never gave up on any ball and we kept every ball in play."
Clark cited the crowd's energy as giving the Dawgs a spark. The daily attendance was 1,043.
"We really fed off the crowd tonight," Clark said. "They really helped us sustain our energy and momentum."
BU made quick work of Army in the first set, winning 25-14. Butler got out to a 13-2 lead and never looked back. Army never got closer than 14-5 the entire first set.
The second set may have been the turning point in the match, with the teams trading points well past 25. Butler seemed to be in control, owning a 21-17 lead late in the set. Army came back to make it 23-23 and shook off several Butler set points to eventually take a 28-27 lead. Kills by senior Jessica Wolfe and Claire Randich made it 29-28 Butler but the Black Knights answered. Tied at 30, a Wolfe kill and a block gave BU the set 32-30.
With the crowd keeping the momentum in Butler's favor, the Dawgs quickly jumped out to a 10-5 lead and would eventually lead 21-10. Army went on a 6-0 run to pull within 21-16, but it would get no closer as BU finished off the set 25-17 to earn its second sweep of the day.
Butler had beaten UNC-Wilmington Friday morning, 3-0. Army lost to Xavier in the day's second match, 3-1.
Senior Susan Lester and freshman Maggie Harbison each had nine kills to lead the Butler offense. Lester, in what was her best performance as a BU volleyball player after four years on the Butler women's basketball team, hit. 350 and added eight digs.
"We tried to spread the offense around," Clark said. "Offensively, Susan Lester was phenomenal. Every game she plays, she gets more confident. And that really helps our team."
Butler will play once Saturday, taking on Xavier in the invitational finale. First serve is at 6 p.m. Live stats and live video links can be found HERE.