Cleveland State def. Butler 25-19, 26-24, 25-22
INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler volleyball team shook illness but couldn't shake Cleveland State Friday evening in a 3-0 loss at Hinkle Fieldhouse. BU had two starters affected by illness in its league opener against the Vikings.
All-Horizon League player Kara Koch led Cleveland State (8-4, 1-0) with 17 kills, six digs, two aces and two blocks. Jordan Goad dished 40 assists for CSU, which lost to Butler in last year's Horizon League Volleyball Championship semifinal.
Butler (4-8, 0-1) was held to .125 hitting as a team. Sophomore Chelsea Kirkpatrick led Butler's offense with nine kills. Sophomore Maggie Harbison and freshman Stephanie Kranda were a bright spot for Butler defensively, combining for 15 blocks assists. The duo combined on a block seven times on the night.
"I thought we had great blocking and served tough and aggressively tonight," head coach Sharon Clark said. "But we need to hit better. We need to get the ball to the people that can finish for us."
Cleveland State rolled past Butler in the first set, which set up a much different second set. The two teams traded points in a set that featured seven ties. CSU was up 17-14 in the set but the Dawgs got four of the next five points to tie the set 18-18. With the Vikings leading 23-22, Harbison and Kranda combined on a block to tie the set 23-23. After a BU error, Harbison and Kranda got together at the net again to tie the set 24-24 and stave off Cleveland State's first set point. The momentum wouldn't sway BU's way, however, as CSU finished the set 26-24 with a pair of kills moments later.
"Things definitely went their way in the first set. The second set was the battle we thought it would be," Clark said.
Down 2-0, Butler would put up a good fight in the third set before Cleveland State finished the sweep. The third set featured 11 ties, with the last coming at 18-18. A pair of Viking kills would then make it 20-18 and Butler called timeout. CSU managed to stay one step ahead of BU en route to a 25-22 match-clinching set.
A very strong Cleveland State team was able to strike down the Bulldogs, who had two starters affected by illness.
"We had a slow start, but I didn't think we played poorly," Clark said. "When Kelly (Kyle) couldn't finish the match, we got out of sync."
Butler will aim for its first league win of the year Saturday, Sept. 17 when it hosts Youngstown State at 4 p.m. ET. Butler has never lost to YSU in volleyball.