Result: Butler def. Loyola 25-17, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-11
INDIANAPOLIS - Butler volleyball took the first two sets and withstood a fierce Loyola rally to win, 3-2, Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. With the victory, Butler reached 20 wins for the first time since 2003.
Senior Porshia Allen finished with 20 kills and 19 digs. Junior Kelsey Labrum had 17 kills and classmate Jessica Wolfe added 13 kills and 16 digs. Freshman Gina Vera had 53 assists and 16 digs.
The Bulldogs (20-11, 9-4 HL) rolled through the first two sets. In the first set, Butler built an 18-15 lead before blitzing Loyola with a 7-2 run to win 25-17. A pair of kills by junior Jalesa Lee capped the first set.
BU would take a 16-10 lead in the second set, forcing an LU timeout. With Wolfe serving, Butler continued to pull away and went up 20-11 and eventually 22-12 on a kill by Allen. A Labrum kill gave the Dogs the second set 25-20.
Butler continued to dominate at the beginning of the third set, taking a 6-1 lead with Vera serving. Three kills by Labrum and two more by Allen put the Ramblers (11-16, 4-10 HL) in a big hole. Loyola battled back, however, quickly pulling to within 12-10. A kill by Loyola's Colleen Francis tied the set at 15 and LU would take its first lead at 17-16. With Loyola leading 22-20, the Ramblers won the next three points to clinch set No. 3, 25-20.
"We got lulled to sleep a little bit after the first two sets and came out flat," head coach Sharon Clark said. "But I was glad to see we kept our composure and pulled out a win."
The fourth set was close throughout with each team trading points. An attack error on Loyola got Butler within 19-18 but LU kept scoring to maintain a 2-point lead. A kill by Labrum got the Dogs within 23-22 but Loyola got a kill from Mallory Curran for match point. After a Loyola service error, Curran picked up another kill to clinch the set for Loyola 25-23.
The key stretch in the fifth and deciding set came with Butler clinging to an 11-10 advantage. The Bulldogs got the next three points - and with Allen serving - Butler reached match point at 14-10. An attack error by Loyola was the final point, clinching a 15-11 set and 3-2 match win for Butler.
"We had no doubt that we could win after they came back," Allen said. "It was more like, ‘What do we need to do for us to win?'"
Butler's 2003 team finished 20-12. It is Clark's second team to reach the 20-win plateau. BU was 19-11 last season.
Butler's home finale is Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. The Dogs host UIC and BU's two seniors - Allen and Stephanie Steele - will be recognized as the take the Hinkle floor for the final time.