Bulldogs Drop 3-2 Battle In Season Opener
Idaho def. Butler 25-21, 25-14, 21-25, 22-25, 15-11
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Down two sets, the Butler volleyball team battled back to take Idaho the distance in a 3-2 loss Friday evening at Notre Dame's Shamrock Invitational. The match was the season opener for both teams. Sophomore Maggie Harbison had 12 kills, four aces and three blocks for the Bulldogs.
Freshman Kelly Kyle, one of two freshmen in Butler's starting lineup, had a team-high 13 kills and 10 digs. Senior Maureen Bamiro, an all-league and all-region player last year, added 10 kills and four digs.
"We played well at times and served aggressively but we made too many critical unforced errors in the fifth set," head coach Sharon Clark said. "We missed too many serves. We broke their served but our missed serves game them the momentum right back.
"Idaho is a very good attacking team and you can't do that when playing a team of that caliber."
Idaho seized the momentum early by winning the first set 25-21. An early 7-1 run put the Vandals up 10-4. Moments later, a pair of Harbison aces pulled BU within 10-8. The two teams traded points and were tied at 18 when a handful of Butler miscues sent Idaho on a 5-1 run to make it 23-19. The Bulldogs were down 24-20 when they called timeout. Butler managed one more point before falling behind in the match 1-0.
Idaho jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the second set and would eventually lead 21-10. Butler would not get the deficit down to single digits as the Vandals cruised 25-14 in the second set.
After the break, the Dawgs picked up their play to win the third period 25-21. BU built a 16-11 lead to force an Idaho timeout. The Bulldogs kept the Vandals at bay until giving up four straight points as Idaho pulled within 21-19. Butler led 23-21 when it captured the final two points of the set, a kill by sophomore Claire Randich and an ace off the hand of Kyle.
The fourth set was wild, with each team going on a long run early. BU led 8-1 before giving up seven straight points to make it 8-8. Harbison came up big in a key stretch when Butler led 14-13. In three straight plays, she had a solo block and a pair of kills to put the Dawgs ahead 17-13. Butler would build a lead as large as 21-15 before claiming the fourth set 25-22.
In the fifth and deciding set, BU trailed 7-6 before Idaho won three consecutive points to go ahead 10-6. The Bulldogs answered back to make it 10-9, but the Vandals scored twice to lead 12-9. Idaho would finish the fifth set with a kill to win 15-11 and win the match 3-2.
Idaho's Rylee Walker swatted 14 kills on .565 hitting and added five blocks. Allison Walker posted 20 kills, 11 digs and four blocks for the Vandals.
Butler (0-1) will continue play at Notre Dame this weekend when it takes on Eastern Michigan Saturday, Aug. 27 at 4:30 p.m. Butler will play host Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.