Bulldogs Take Early Lead, Fall At Portland

Portland def. Butler 20-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-18

PORTLAND, Ore. - Freshman Kelly Kyle had 13 kills and career highs in blocks and digs but the Butler volleyball team was edged by Portland, 3-1, in the host Pilots' University of Portland Classic. Butler had an early lead by winning the first set but the Pilots would win the next three sets.

Senior Maureen Bamiro swatted 12 kills, four blocks and hit .360 for the Bulldogs, who fell to 0-4 on the young season.  Portland's 21 blocks and nine service aces were too much for Butler to overcome. UP's blocking limited Butler's attack to a .115 team hitting percentage.

"Portland's serving was very tough and we struggled with it at times," head coach Sharon Clark said. "Both teams blocked well but we lost our composutre and have to be better with that."

Butler got the best of Portland (2-2) in the opening set, staying one step ahead for a 25-20 set win. BU jumped out to a 10-7 lead early, which prompted UP to call a timeout. The set was tied 15-15 when Butler was able to get three straight points for an 18-15 advantage. Butler's lead was trimmed to 20-19 but the Dawgs answered to win five of the last six points, with sophomore Maggie Harbison closing the set with a solo block. 

Portland cruised 25-15 in the second set, tying the match 1-1 during the break. The third set was a bit closer, with a block by Bamiro pulling Butler to within 14-13 after it had trailed 14-9 moments earlier. After a UP timeout, the two teams traded points but Portland was able to build a 20-16 lead. After Butler called timeout, Portland extended its lead to 23-17 and ultimately to 25-20.

Butler, however, wouldn't go quietly. The Bulldogs led 3-0 in the fourth set before Portland go going and led 6-4. BU was still within striking distance trailing 10-8 before the Pilots got four straight points to go ahead 14-8. Butler held its own for the next 15 points but Portland would climb ahead at 22-16 to force a BU timeout. After the timeout, UP got the next two points for match point but the freshman Kyle picked up a kill and a block for Butler. Portland clinched the match with a 25-18 fourth set.

"Bamiro and Kyle hit well for us today," Clark said. "We have to learn to be much more aggressive offensively."

Portland was led by Kate Bostwick with 12 kills and 20 digs. UP's Arial Usher played a versatile game, totaling nine kills, 12 digs, three aces and six blocks.

Butler will play three more matches this weekend in Portland's event. BU takes on Texas A&M and Nevada Friday, Sept. 2 before finishing the weekend against Washington State Saturday afternoon.