CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Butler women's volleyball team got off to a great start to the 2013 season by defeating Cincinnati 3-0 in the regular season opener 25-17, 25-23, 25-22. The Bulldogs will play two more games in the Cincinnati Invitational with a night game vs. Morehead State coming up later today and an afternoon match vs. Tennessee on Saturday.
Belle Obert was an impact player against the Bearcats as she recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs. Obert hit at a .370 clip and also added five blocks.
Joining Obert as impact players on Friday afternoon was the tandem of Kelly Kyle and Claire Randich. Kyle jumped into the starting lineup and responded by just missing a double-double as she recorded 10 kills and nine digs. The junior was nearly unstoppable at the net as she posted a .714 attack percentage.
Randich did her part offensively with seven kills, but it was her defense that made a statement as the middle blocker recorded nine blocks against the Bearcats. Butler dominated up front as four players had five blocks or more.
"I'm so proud of my team for picking up a win over tournament host Cincinnati," Head Coach Sharon Clark said. "We hit extremely well and showed our blocking dominance."
Morgan Peterson was another important player in the Butler win over Cincinnati as she ended the match with 30 assists, six digs, four kills, and a service ace.
The Bulldogs looked good from the opening serve on Friday afternoon as they never trailed Cincinnati in the first set. The team jumped out to a 6-2 lead after a hot start from Obert and Randich, but the Bearcats would go on to cut the gap to 12-9 moments later. Another Butler run would take the score to 16-10 and Cincinnati would never recover as back-to-back points from Obert gave Butler the 25-17 win.
The second set featured back and forth action the entire way as neither team could pull away to build a lead. Cincinnati burned a timeout with the scored tied at 21-21 and it was a fight to the finish from that point forward. The Bearcats scored out of the break as Amelia Wegman sent a kill to the court off an assist from Jamie Netisingha. Butler responded with a kill from Erica Stahl and a service ace from Peterson to grab a 23-22 lead. Wegman came up clutch again with a kill to tie the score but two straight points from Butler sealed the win at 25-23.
The third and final set was more intense action between two quality programs. Butler looked to have control of the match with a 16-13 lead, but the Bearcats came fighting back with a 7-1 run giving them a 20-17 lead down the stretch. Clark used a timeout to kill the momentum and it worked as Butler scored three straight out of the break to tie the game at 20-20.
With the scored knotted at 22-22 it was the combination of Kyle, Obert, and Randich that once again lifted Butler to a victory. Kyle came up with a kill to break the tie and a kill from Peterson moved Butler to match point. A combo block from Obert and Randich was the final point and a fitting way to end the match as they once again delivered with their great play at the net.
"We were uncertain how quickly we would respond to the personnel changes we've had in preseason," Clark explained. "It's tough to leave two starting upperclassmen at home with injuries, but the group stepped up and responded as great Bulldogs do!"