Nov. 12, 2004
The Bulldogs got revenge on Loyola in a big way Friday night, posting a 33-31, 30-21, 30-27 sweep over the Ramblers to clinch at least the No. 2 seed and bye into the semifinals in the upcoming Horizon League Championships. Senior Kali Carter led the Bulldogs with 17 kills and 12 digs, while classmate Areal Bienemy had 13 kills and eight blocks. Butler improves to 17-9 (11-2 Horizon League), while the Ramblers fall to 18-8 (9-4).
Angry from a 3-0 loss to Loyola in Chicago a month ago, Butler had 14.5 blocks in the contest, led by Bienemy's career-high five solo stuffs. A frustrated Loyola squad resorted to tips near the end of the match after being forced into 33 hitting errors during the match. Even when the ball got cleanly over the net, junior libero Megan Knightly was there to dig it, as several of her 13 digs were highlight material. It was her 28th consecutive double-digit dig performance.
"Tonight we were up and ready from start to finish," said coach Sharon Clark. "Our intensity level was just so high. Blocking was the key for us tonight, it really took them out of their offense. Our senior starters did what they were supposed to do. I love that we're playing so well this time of year after how hard everyone has worked."
Senior Sara Gallagher had 38 assists for the Bulldogs, who had 48 kills and hit .241 for the match. In contrast, the Ramblers' 33 hitting errors were the main factor in .099 hitting, as the visitors never climbed above .189 in any of the three games. Freshman Michelle DeGeeter returned to the starting lineup after a career-high 15 kills in Saturday's win at UW-Green Bay and added eight kills and four blocks against the Ramblers.
Clark tightened her lineup for Friday's match, a move to give Loyola a different look than the teams' previous match. Sophomore Laura White was the team's only sub in the first two games.
"We worked hard to get a better match-up," said Clark. "Usually we like to show our depth, but we felt this would give us our best chance tonight. We worked hard on it all week and the team stuck to it. However, we'll need contributions from everyone over the next couple of matches."
Butler held a slim margin throughout game one before a Loyola error gave the Bulldogs a 26-21 advantage. However, Loyola fought back to tie the game at 29 before Bienemy scored the team's final four points with two kills, a solo block and a service ace to give the Bulldogs a 33-31 win and 1-0 lead. Bienemy had seven kills in the frame. Butler jumped all over Loyola in the second game, using seven Carter kills and .432 hitting to take a 30-21 decision. In the third game, 13 Loyola hitting errors doomed the visitors, mostly due to Butler's 5.5 blocks in the 30-27 win.
Saturday's 4 p.m. regular season finale against UIC is Butler's "Senior Day" as Bienemy, Carter, Gallagher and Elizabeth Moreau will suit up for the last time on the Hinkle Fieldhouse hardwood. The four will be honored prior to the match. Butler has clinched at least the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Horizon League championships, but could claim the top spot if UW-Milwaukee goes winless in their two matches this weekend.