INDIANAPOLIS - Butler went toe-to-toe for the first two sets before falling 3-0 to Stephen F. Austin on Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldog volleyball team went 1-1 on the first day of the four-team event.
Stephen F. Austin went 2-0 on the day, holding off Indiana in five grueling sets and then turning around and taking on Butler an hour later. The Ladyjacks were up for the challenge, winning 25-23 and 28-26 to take a 2-0 lead. SFA used a late 6-0 run to pull away in the third and clinch the match.
"It was a well-fought match, until game three," head coach Sharon Clark said. "The first two sets were tough on both sides. They made clutch plays when they needed to. We needed someone to step up at the end of the match and didn't get it."
Down 1-0, BU made a great comeback and actually had set point twice before SFA got two clutch blocks and a kill from Jill Ivy to get the 28-26 set and lead 2-0. The third set was also tight, and was tied 14-14 when Stephen F. Austin scored six straight points to lead 20-14. They slowly matched points with Butler down the stretch to earn the sweep.
"They're a great defensive team," Clark said of Stephen F. Austin. "We had some great shots. Against a lot of other teams, those would go down."
No Bulldog player had more than six kills. Sophomore Jadyn Yarling and senior Rachel Barber each posted 13 digs and junior Morgan Peterson had six blocks. Butler out-blocked SFA (11.5-5.0) but had just 30 kills on .103 hitting.
"For us, this match will teach us a lot. We're going to grow from this match and know that we're going to have to be tougher when it's tight and to put balls away when we need to."
Butler (6-3) will finish play in the Butler Classic vs. Indiana Saturday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. Fans with a football ticket for Saturday night are also welcome to watch the BU-IU match.