INDIANAPOLIS - Butler led 2-0, and had a pair of match points in the third set, but couldn't sustain the momentum, falling to Wright State 26-24, 25-19, 25-27, 18-25, 9-15 on senior night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.The loss drops Butler to 18-10 overall and 8-8 in Horizon League action.
Wright State (15-14, 10-5 HL) took an early lead in the initial stanza, pulling ahead 18-12 midway through the set. The Bulldogs fought back, chipping away at the Raiders' lead as a kill by Porshia Allen tied the set at 23. Another kill by Allen gave Wright State the 24-23 edge, but Shaunda Sandifer's kill would knot things back at 24. Allen then took it upon herself to put the set away, recording back-to-back kills, and giving the Bulldogs the 26-24 win.
Butler used the momentum from the first set to jump out to a 9-2 lead in the next set. Wright State then fought back to tie it at 10, before the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to put the set out of reach.
The third set was a battle throughout, with neither team leading by more than three points. With Butler taking a 24-22 lead late in the set, it looked as though a sweep over the Raiders was imminent. But, a kill by WSU's Jessica Woods followed by a Butler attacking error tied the game at 24. Lexi Leonhard gave the Raiders a 25-24 lead with her kill off the block, but the Raiders couldn't capitalize, with a service error on the ensuing point, tying the game at 25. Wright State then pulled out the third set win with kills from Michelle Hammond and Leonhard.
The Raiders took advantage of the change in momentum in the fourth set to pull out to a 16-11 and never looked back, holding Butler to a .054 clip.
With the score tied 3-3 in the fifth frame, kills by Leonhard, Hammon and Sandifer pushed the Raiders out to an early 6-3 lead. The Bulldogs pulled back to within 7-6 off of a kill by Allen, but would get no closer throughout the remainder of the match as Wright State captured the 15-9 win.
"It was a well-fought battle between the two teams," said head coach Sharon Clark. "Wright State did what they had to do, and we didn't finish it at crucial points in the match. On paper, it was very even between both of our teams, but you have to give them (Wright State) credit for shutting down our hitters at the end and pulling out those critical points."
Senior Dana Daprile, who was one of three seniors honored prior to the match, led the Bulldogs with 47 assists and 17 digs. Porshia Allen led Butler's offense with 20 kills, while teammates Jessica Wolfe and Kelsey Labrum added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Katie Daprile led a balanced defensive effort with 19 digs. Fellow seniors Chloe Blasingame and Nina Inic were also recognized in their final match at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Raiders, which held Butler to a .187 hitting percentage on the match, were led by Leonhard's 23 kills and Leilani Tafuna's 20 digs. Hammond posted a match-high 58 assists on the match.
The Bulldogs will return to action on November 20 in the Horizon League Tournament, which is hosted by Cleveland State University.