Butler Wins Home Opener in Five Sets

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It took all five sets on Tuesday night, but the Butler Bulldogs remain undefeated after beating cross-town rival IUPUI 3-2 in the 2013 home opener (25-21, 28-30, 23-25, 26-24, 15-9). Butler moves to 4-0 with the win and IUPUI falls to 1-3 on the year with the loss.

Butler used a team effort to get the hard fought win as three players posted a double-double. Belle Obert had a monster game with 20 kills and 17 assists and senior setter Morgan Peterson was equally as impressive with 56 assists and 18 digs. The final Bulldog to record a double-double was sophomore Mary Striedl who ended the contest with 13 digs and 10 kills.

IUPUI had a one-two punch to push Butler to five sets as Moriah Fair posted a match-high 23 kills and 18 digs against the Bulldogs while Kaitlyn Hickey went off for 21 kills and 16 digs.

Each team played tough at the point of attack as Butler totaled 17 team blocks compared to 10 for IUPUI. Erica Stahl came up big down the stretch for Butler ending the game with a match-high nine blocks. Peterson and Obert each chipped in with six.

The first set went to Butler even though IUPUI posted their highest attack percentage of the night at .310. The Bulldogs led early, but the story of the opening set came at 16-12 when Claire Randich hit the floor after recording a kill. The team trainer made her way to the floor and Randich would be out for the remainder of the contest with an undisclosed injury. Butler continued on and won the set 25-21, but the loss of Randich would stick with Butler the rest of the night.

The second set was arguably the most entertaining of the five as Butler shook off a 12-19 deficit to get within three points (20-23). An attack error moved the Jaguars to set point at 24-20, but the Bulldogs never quit as they eventually tied the set at 24-24 after a kill from Obert. Butler had multiple chances to win the set at 26-25 and again at 28-27, but Moriah Fair continued to step up for IUPUI leading the Jags to a crucial 30-28 win.

The third set also went to IUPUI as the duo of Fair and Hickey came up with six kills each for the Jags. Set three began just as set two ended with back and forth action between the two programs. Hickey came up big with a kill to break the 22-22 tie and Alexis Meeks moved the Jags to set-point with a kill off a Meredith Farkas assist. Kelly Kyle got Butler back within one point, but a bad set by Butler gave the Jags a 2-1 advantage heading into set four.

With their backs against the wall, the Bulldogs entered the fourth set with a 13-11 lead. IUPUI would climb back into the match to grab a 19-16 advantage, but Butler once again countered by tying the game at 24-24. A huge team block from Stahl and Striedl moved the 'Dogs to set point and Kyle pushed the match to a decisive fifth set with a kill off the Peterson assist.

The fifth set was all Butler as the Bulldogs opened up a 5-1 lead after a string of IUPUI errors. The teams switched sides at 8-4 and IUPUI burned a timeout at 10-5. The stoppage didn't change the outcome as Butler poured in kills from Striedl and Stahl on their way to becoming 4-0.

The team will return to action this weekend when it competes in the Arizona Classic, Sept. 6-7.