Indianapolis, Ind. - Jessica Wolfe finished a dig shy of her eighth double-double of the season and Melody Austin recorded career-highs in kills and blocks, but a steady Loyola defense proved to be too much for the Bulldogs in the end, as Butler fell at home to the Ramblers, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Oct. 11) afternoon.
The defeat sends the Bulldogs to 14-5 on the season and 4-3 in Horizon League play, while Loyola improves to 14-5 and 4-3 in conference.
Butler staked itself to a 1-0 advantage in the match after riding its own powerful defense to a 25-19 decision in the opening set. The Bulldogs held Loyola to just .125 hitting in the period while knocking down four blocks in the set alone, including a pair of block assists from both Wolfe and Austin.
The Ramblers kept the match close in the early going, as the Bulldogs led by two at 10-8, but an 8-3 run by the Bulldogs helped push the advantage out to seven at 18-11, capped by a service ace from Dana Daprile. Loyola rebounded to bring the bout back to within four at 20-16, but a pair of kills from Maureen Bamiro helped the Bulldogs to seal the first point of the match with a 5-3 run to close the set.
Loyola brought the match back to even in the second set, using an 11-4 run to break a 14-14 deadlock and send the teams into the break tied at 1-1.
Butler worked itself out to an early advantage in the third set and held an 11-8 lead before the Ramblers reeled off eight-straight points to take a 15-11 lead. The Bulldogs would rally back to tie the set at 22-22, but a service error and a pair of attack errors would give Loyola the deciding points to take a 2-1 lead in the bout.
The Bulldogs would come out swinging at the start of the fourth period, as three kills by Kelsey Labrum and a pair from Wolfe helped Butler out to an 11-7 lead. Loyola would counter with an offensive surge of its own, however, and ride a 10-3 trek to a 17-13 advantage. Butler would once again rally late, cutting the deficit to just two at 23-21, but back-to-back kills by the Ramblers would seal the match in favor of Loyola.
Wolfe finished with a team-high 13 kills on .321 hitting (13-4-28) and added nine digs and six blocks, which tied her career-best mark. Austin recorded a career-high eight kills while hitting a team-best .389 (8-1-18) and chipped in a career-best nine total blocks.
The Bulldogs finished with 12.5 blocks in the bout, the 10th match in which they have registered double-digit blocks.
Butler returns to action on Sunday (Oct. 12) when it hosts UIC beginning at 2:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The contest will also serve as the Bulldogs' Breast Cancer Awareness Day, with pink Butler Volleyball t-shirts for sale during the match.