CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Butler volleyball team put the finishing touches on an awesome weekend as the Bulldogs defeated Tennessee 3-0 in the final game of the Cincinnati Invitational (25-22, 25-21, 25-18). Belle Obert was named Tournament MVP on Saturday while Morgan Peterson and Claire Randich took home All-Tournament Team honors.
Peterson recorded her second double-double of the invitational with 24 assists and 15 digs against the Volunteers. The team's kill leader on Saturday afternoon was Belle Obert with 11. Obert hit .200 against the Vols and added five blocks and four digs.
"Today's match was a great finish for us," Head Coach Sharon Clark explained. "Belle Obert earned MVP honors by playing phenomenal all weekend."
It was a group effort offensively for Butler as Peterson added eight kills, Kelly Kyle and Mary Striedl each recorded six and Randich did her part with five. "Morgan Peterson and Claire Randich were great and their leadership showed over the weekend," Clark added.
The Butler defense was once again a strong point for the Bulldogs as the team recorded 7.5 team blocks to control the net. Erica Stahl recorded a match-high six blocks and the combination of Striedl and Brooke Ruffolo took care of the dig category going for 12 and 15 respectively.
A 5-0 run in the first set was the difference maker as Butler broke an 8-8 tie to take the lead. Tennessee came back to get within one at 15-14, but the Bulldogs poured on four straight shortly after to grab a 20-16 advantage. Head Coach Sharon Clark took a timeout with a 23-21 lead and a Tennessee attack error got Butler to match point. Tennessee got a kill from Ashley Mariani to extend the game, but Obert finished the match with a kill off the Peterson assist.
The Bulldogs broke a 7-7 tie in the second set and never trailed again as they posted a 25-21 win to take a 2-0 lead into the break. The Volunteers tried to stop the momentum on two different occasions with timeouts, but the Bulldogs didn't skip a beat as Obert and Striedl finished off the Vols down the stretch.
The third and final set was all Butler after the midway point as the Bulldogs pushed a 17-16 lead into a 24-17 advantage. Striedl connected on the game-winner off an assist from Ruffolo. "We were composed and in control today, it was such a great way to start the season," Clark stated.
The Bulldogs will return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 3 when they host the IUPUI Jaguars. The action will begin inside the Hinkle Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.