Valparaiso, Ind. - Porshia Allen notched match-highs with 16 kills and five blocks and the Bulldogs combined for double-figure blocks for the 12th time this season, but the effort would not be enough as host Valparaiso rebounded from an opening-set defeat for a 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-16 decision at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Friday (Oct. 17) evening.
The loss sends the Bulldogs to 15-6 on the year and 5-4 in Horizon League play, while the Crusaders improve to 13-6 overall and 5-4 in the conference.
Butler scored an early advantage in the match after edging out Valpo in the opening set.
A pair of kills by Jessica Wolfe and back-to-back block assists from Allen and Melody Austin paved the way for the Bulldogs early on before a kill by Allen gave Butler a five-point edge at 7-2. Valparaiso would rally back to within one on several occasions, but the Bulldogs continued to hold the advantage into the later part of the set and maintained a five-point margin at 20-15.
An 8-2 jolt by the Crusaders saw the Bulldogs' lead turn into a one-point deficit at 23-22, but a kill by Maureen Bamiro, a service ace by Katie Daprile and kill by Dana Daprile gave the Bulldogs three-straight points and provided the final margin.
The second set featured four lead changes and a dozen ties, as the two squads battled toe-to-toe throughout much of the period. After Butler took a 14-13 lead on a kill by Allen, the Crusaders reeled off a 6-1 run to take a 19-15 lead before holding on for win.
Butler found itself on the short end of things midway through the third set, as a 9-3 surge by Valpo pushed it out to a 15-9 advantage. The Bulldogs would steadily crawl back into the match, using an 8-2 run capped by a kill from Bamiro to draw back to even at 17-17. The rally attempt would stall there, however, as the Crusaders closed the set on an 8-1 trek to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The two teams once again found themselves in a battle in the early part of the fourth set, as Valparaiso held a slim 12-11 margin, but a stingy Crusader defense would hold the Bulldogs to just five points the rest of the way in claiming the deciding bout.
Allen finished with a team-high 16 kills and five blocks while adding eight digs. Wolfe also finished in double-figures with 11 kills and added eight digs, while Kelsey Labrum tallied eight kills and 13 digs and Bamiro totaled four blocks. Katie Daprile paced the squad with 18 digs.
Butler returns home next weekend when it hosts Green Bay on Friday (Oct. 24) beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.