INDIANAPOLIS – After taking a tough 26-24 loss in the opening set, the Butler women's volleyball team responded by winning three-straight sets in order to defeat No. 22 Creighton 3-1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 25-22).
"That was huge for us," Head Coach Sharon Clark said. "They are a great team and everybody knows that, but I think we stayed steady from start to finish and that was the difference tonight."
The Bulldogs hit .200 or better in every set on Friday night to earn their 14th win of the season. Four players reached a double figure kill total with Erica Stahl leading the team with 13. Stahl was impressive against the Jays as she posted an attack percentage of .500 while also chipping in with five blocks and two digs.
Morgan Peterson nearly reached a triple-double as she led the Butler offense to victory with a match-high 47 assists. The senior ended the match with eight kills, eight digs and four blocks.
"Morgan was phenomenal," Clark stated. "She was great at the net, she was great with her leadership, and she scored points for us in every way possible. She really was the key in that first game to keep them off kilter. She had them off balance all game and that helped us a whole lot."
Sophomore Mary Striedl nearly pulled off a double-double performance as she recorded 10 kills and seven digs. The outside hitter had two big kills in the fourth set to keep the lead.
"Mary did a great job for us defensively and she was smart offensively," Clark explained. "That made a big difference in the match."
Brooke Ruffolo, Belle Obert and Maggie Harbison also impacted the match in a variety of ways. Ruffolo led the team with 22 digs and Obert was all over the floor with 10 kills, six digs, three blocks and two assists. Harbison came up with the teams only service ace of the night while also posting seven kills and three blocks.
"It was a serve and pass game and we served very aggressively," Clark added. "We missed some serves but that's going to happen when you are going aggressive, but overall we passed unbelievably and that helped us a lot so we could run our offense."
Butler nearly swept Creighton as the first set was tight from the opening serve. The Jays rattled off back-to-back service aces with the game knotted at 22-22, but Stahl and the Bulldogs wouldn't go away as they tied the game once again at 24-24. A kill from Leah McNary got the Jays to set point and an attack error would give Creighton a 1-0 lead.
Set two was another close one until Stahl sparked a 4-0 Butler run that gave the Bulldogs a 17-12 lead. The five point cushion held up the rest of the way as Stahl's kill got Butler even with a 25-20 win.
The third set was a defining moment in Friday night's match as Butler dominated from the start. A 4-1 lead moved to a 15-10 advantage and the Jays never recovered as the Bulldogs led 20-13 down the stretch. Striedl, Stahl and Peterson all came up big in crunch time as Butler went up 2-1.
Set four was tight until a 5-0 Butler run pushed the scoreboard to 21-16. Harbison and Striedl each had kills to lift the 'Dogs along with multiple errors from Creighton. The Jays hit .250 in the opening set but dropped to .167, 0.83, and .122 in their losses.
"Our play tonight was so reminiscent of what we did early in the season so it was good to get our feet back on the ground and get back into that rhythm."
The Bulldogs will look to ride this momentum through the weekend as they host St. John's tomorrow at 4 p.m. and Seton Hall on Sunday at 3 p.m.