Sept. 20, 2003
The Bulldogs took Illinois to a deciding fifth game before falling to the Big Ten power Saturday afternoon. The loss drops Butler to 8-6 on the season, while the Fighting Illini improve to 9-1. Junior Areal Bienemy led the Bulldogs with 19 kills, while senior setter Amanda Matthews narrowly missed a triple-double with eight kills, 52 assists and 12 digs.
"I thought we played well today," said coach Sharon Clark. "In general, it was a great match that could have gone either way.
"I was really impressed with how our middle blockers stepped it up. Areal had a great game. Of course the glue who holds it all together is Amanda and she had a fantastic match today."
Tied at 25 in the first game, the Bulldogs won five of the next six points to take the first game 30-26. The Bulldogs hit an impressive .306 in the opening frame. The Illini then responded, capturing the next two games 30-23 and 30-26. On the brink of defeat, the Bulldogs fought back late in the fourth game. Down 27-23, the Bulldogs came storming back in front of a rowdy Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd as Krystal Hendrix served out the game with three straight points for a 30-28 score. However, the visitors were too strong in the fifth stanza. The Illini's seven kills on .462 (7-1-13) hitting and four Butler attacking errors led to a 15-6 Illinois win.
For the Bulldogs, Hendrix and Kali Carter recorded double-doubles. Hendrix had 14 kills and 11 digs, while Carter posted 13 kills and a match-high 20 digs. Candice Washington had 11 kills for the home team, while libero Alyssa Cress had 19 digs.
Lisa Argabright led the Illini with 18 kills. Junior setter Erin Virtue had 62 assists and 18 digs for the visitors.
The Bulldogs have nearly a week to prepare for their Horizon League opener against Loyola Friday. Butler will do the customary Chicago two-step as the Bulldogs play at UIC Saturday afternoon. The next home match for the Bulldogs is Oct. 3 against Wright State at 7 p.m.