Nov. 22, 2002
GREEN BAY, WIS. -No. 6 Wright State knocked off third-seeded Butler in the first round of the Horizon League Volleyball Tournament on Friday at UW-Green Bay's Phoenix Sports Center. The Raiders captured a 30-22, 30-27, 30-28 victory, which dropped the Bulldogs to 14-18 overall. Wright State, the preseason Horizon League favorites, improve to 18-12 overall and will take on the winner of No. 2 UW-Milwaukee/No. 7 Cleveland State tomorrow in the Tournament's semifinals.
"I expected us to play much better at this point of the season," said head coach Sharon Clark. "We would get a good rally going and then shoot ourselves in the foot. But, I have to give Wright State credit, they came to play. They fought hard for every point and you could just see their determination to win."
Several ball handling and hitting errors caused the Bulldogs to fall behind early in game one. Three straight kills by Tricia Naseman gave Wright State a 22-12 edge. Butler was able to pull within 28-22 off a Keely Norris kill, but the Raiders continued to capitalize on the Bulldogs' dismal .068 hitting percentage en route to capturing the 30-22 win.
Wright State broke a 7-7 tie in game two and forged ahead to a 17-12 advantage. Laura Klancnik closed the gap to 20-17 with her kill down the line, but a pair of kills from McKenzie Tiffin gave the Raiders a 25-20 lead. The Bulldogs came within striking distance several times down the stretch, coming within two points on several occasions. Kali Carter's kill of the block cut the WSU lead to 28-26, but Tiffin responded with a successful swing of her own to put the Raiders at game point. Candice Washington's right side swing gave the Bulldogs one last chance at 29-27, but Naseman closed out the game at 30-27 with a shot to the back line.
Butler had to fight from behind again in the third frame, as the Raiders burst out to a 13-9 advantage. Norris' tip to the middle tied the game at 16. After ties at 17 and 18, Washington's kill gave the Bulldogs a two-point lead. Two straight Wright State hitting errors boosted Butler's advantage to 24-20. Back-to-back kills by Norris and Carter gave Butler a 28-25 lead. A Butler serving error resulted in a Wright State point and Kelly Skaro closed the gap to 28-27 with her crosscourt kill. A Butler ball handling error tied the game at 28 and a hitting error gave the Raiders match point, 29-28. Naseman then lifted the Raiders to a first-round win with her 20th kill of the match.
Butler, which hit .152 on the match, was plagued by eight service errors. Wright State posted a .200 hitting percentage as a team.
Carter led Butler's effort with her 14th double-double of the season of 10 kills and 12 digs. Seniors Norris and Klancnik each added eight kills while Megan Knightly led the Bulldogs with 15 digs. Junior setter Amanda Matthews recorded 31 assists to go along with 13 digs.
In addition to Naseman's 20 kills, she also tallied a match-high 21 digs. Tiffin also had a double-double of 10 kills and 14 digs, while senior setter Mandy Gels dished out 44 assists to go along with 14 digs.
Butler will participate in the University of New Mexico's Albuturkey Tournament over Thanksgiving weekend. The Bulldogs will kick off tournament action by taking on New Mexico on Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. Also participating in the Tournament are No. 21 UCLA and Rice.