Result: Butler def. UIC 25-20, 27-25, 25-22
INDIANAPOLIS - The best offense was a good defense for the Butler volleyball team, as the Bulldogs raced past UIC, 3-0, Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. A couple of key blocks and some acrobatic digs helped BU improve to 4-0 in Horizon League play.
Butler (9-6, 4-0 HL) got 10 team blocks, holding UIC to .061 hitting and saw four players record at least eight digs in a team effort victory. Freshman Maggie Harbison had 14 digs and four block assists, while sophomore Gina Vera had 14 digs and four block assists and senior Katie Daprile had 13 digs. Freshman Claire Randich had a match-high seven block assists.
"We have worked really hard in practice," head coach Sharon Clark said. "I give our girls a lot of credit. They have worked to push each other to get better each match."
The first set was close early and Butler would build to an 18-14 lead. Moments later, a UIC attack error would give Butler a 23-18 lead. UIC got the next two points to force a BU timeout, but the Bulldogs finished the set by winning the final two points.
UIC (8-8, 3-3 HL) appeared to be in control in the second set, leading 15-11 after a kill by Epiphany Davis. Butler rallied to tie it 16-16, and would go on a run to take a 21-17 lead. Tied at 23, Davis picked up another kill for set point for the Flames. Vera and Randich stuffed the set point with a clutch block. After the two teams traded points for 25-25, Randich and Harbison picked up a big block after a long point and senior Susan Lester finished the set with a kill.
The second-set comeback effectively took the air out of the Flames, and the Bulldogs cruised the rest of the way.
"We made big plays. Gina, Jessie (Jessica Wolfe) and our freshmen stepped up and made huge plays," Clark said. "I thought we made the plays when there was a lot on the line."
BU got up big, 19-11, in the third set. UIC battled back to within 22-20 and 24-22, but the Bulldogs went back to Lester for the clinching point and won the set 25-22.
Lester led Butler with 10 kills, while Wolfe added nine. The Bulldogs hit .122 as the Flames managed 9.0 team blocks of their own.
Butler had nine service aces, including three by Harbison and two each by Wolfe and Randich.
Butler, atop the league standings with Milwaukee, will travel to play Cleveland State and Youngstown State this week. BU is at CSU Tuesday, Oct. 5 and at YSU the following evening.