Bulldogs Fall in Five at Xavier

Bulldogs Fall in Five at Xavier
Stephanie Kranda

CINCINNATI – The Bulldogs held a 2-1 advantage after winning set three 25-13, but the Xavier Musketeers forced a fifth set and went on to win Friday night's match to improve to 4-1 in the BIG EAST (22-25, 28-26, 25-13, 25-27, 9-15). With the loss, the Bulldogs move to 16-4 with a 3-2 conference record.

Morgan Peterson led Butler with a double-double performance as she recorded a match-high 48 saves to go along with 15 digs. The senior nearly reached a triple-double as she also recorded seven kills against the Musketeers.

Belle Obert also came up just short of a triple double performance with 21 digs, 10 kills and eight blocks. The Bulldogs dominated the blocks category by posting 17.5 as a team. Erica Stahl played a large role in that category with eight blocks.

Stephanie Kranda and Maggie Harbison were the top kill leaders on the team with 16 and 11 respectively. Brooke Ruffolo led the defensive unit with 26 digs while Kristen Webb added 16.

Abbey Bessler was once again the driving force for Xavier as she led all players with 22 kills. Aubree Smith paced the team with 45 assists and Sariah Suryadevara was the top defensive player with 22 digs.

"This was a really tough match between two great teams," Head Coach Sharon Clark said. "We had opporunities to finish the match in four, but we just couldn't find a way to close them out."

The Bulldogs got out to a two point lead midway through the opening set, but a 5-0 Xavier run gave the Musketeers an 18-15 lead. Butler got within two points at 23-21 after two kills from Mary Striedl forcing Xavier to call a timeout. Bessler pushed Xavier to set point with a kill after the stoppage and the game ended with a kill from Kelsey Dunaway.

Butler fought off Xavier in an exciting second set as the two teams went back and forth in crunch time. This set featured 17 ties and seven lead changes. The combination of Kranda and Peterson led BU to victory as Kranda tied the set at 26-26 and Peterson sent back-to-back kills to the court to help Butler take the 28-26 win.

The momentum of the match stayed with Butler in set three as they dominated the action to take a 25-13 win. The strong serve of Striedl allowed Butler to go on a 7-0 run which put the score at 19-12. The 'Dogs ended the set on a 5-0 run to get within one set of winning the match.

The Musketeers didn't fold in set four with their backs against the wall as Butler had a chance to finish them off in four. Kranda set a kill to the hardwood to give Butler a 25-24 lead, but an attack error tied the score at 25-25. Back-to-back Butler miscues allowed Xavier to hang on and force a final set as they went on to win 27-25.

The missed opportunity in set four gave Butler a hangover effect in set five as Xavier raced out to an 11-3 lead. Butler burned two timeouts early to shake up the scoring run but it was too late as the Musketeers recorded a 15-9 win off a kill from Makayla Agin.

The team will return to action with a road match at Creighton on Sunday, Oct. 20.