Butler def. Valparaiso 25-16, 25-19, 22-25, 25-16
INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler volleyball team picked up a key league win Friday night, defeating Valparaiso 3-1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The victory lifted BU to 7-5 in league play, moving the Dawgs from fifth place Friday afternoon to third place Friday evening.
Butler entered the day one game behind both UIC and Valparaiso, but a Flames loss and a Valparaiso loss move the teams into a three-way tie for third at 7-5. Butler and UIC will play Saturday afternoon, with the winner gaining the inside track to third place in the conference.
The Bulldogs won the match at the net. BU stuffed 23.0 team blocks, shutting down Valparaiso's attack. Valpo had just 4.0 team blocks and hit a meager .061. Sophomores Maggie Harbison and Claire Randich each had 11 blocks, career-high totals for both players. Senior Maureen Bamiro and freshman Belle Obert each had seven blocks and combined for five solo blocks.
"We practiced really hard this week on setting a good block and making sure our middles were closing," Randich said. "We came out and played with a lot of energy and had good communication. We worked on not making a lot of errors, and that really paid off."
Bamiro led a balanced offensive attack with 10 kills on .333 hitting. Obert added nine kills with Randich and freshman Kelly Kyle chipping in eight.
Butler (11-13, 7-5) rolled in the first two sets to take command of the match. BU led 14-13 in set No. 1 before getting five straight points to lead 19-13 and force a Valpo timeout. Moments later, at 20-15, BU got five of the final six points to win the set 25-16. The final stretch featured Harbison serving and a set of back-to-back Bamiro/Randich blocks.
The second set was similar, with Butler leading 14-13 once again. At 17-17, the Crusaders committed three straight attack errors to give BU a 20-17 lead. A Randich/Harbison block made it 21-17 and the Dawgs moved on to a 25-19 set win.
Butler had a big lead in the third set before Valparaiso rallied. BU led 15-10 when Valpo went on a 7-2 run to tie the set 17-12. BU appeared to regain control leading 22-20, but the Crusaders scored five points in a row to take the set and extend the night to a fourth set.
BU dominated the fourth set, making seven blocks en route to a 25-16 win. The Dawgs jumped out to a 12-4 lead and cruised the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs host UIC Saturday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET. It is BU's final home contest and Senior Day for the team's lone senior, Bamiro.