Nov. 22, 2003
The Bulldogs had their season ended Saturday at the hands of top-seeded UW-Milwaukee in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Panthers' 28-30, 30-25, 30-26, 30-21 victory leaves the Bulldogs with a record of 20-12 (9-5 in Horizon League) for the 2003 campaign. Sophomore Candice Washington led the Bulldogs with 16 kills.
Horizon League "Co-Player of the Year" Lindsey Spoden was the difference in Saturday's match. The junior setter finished with a triple-double, posting 12 kills, 50 assists and 17 digs. She hit at an .800 clip for the match. Spoden secured the triple-double just nine points into the third game. The Panthers (25-4, 13-1) ran their offense through Spoden, as the Panthers had six players in double-figure kills.
Juniors Areal Bienemy and Kali Carter posted 15 and 14 kills, respectively, for the Bulldogs in the four-game loss. Senior setter Amanda Matthews had 51 assists and 15 digs in her final college match.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 1-0 advantage with a 30-28 win in the first game. Butler hit .327 in the opening stanza, with Carter and Washington each registering six kills. The top-seeded Panthers rebounded in the second game behind seven kills from Rachel Kuebbing. A Cheryl Hegemann kill secured the Panthers a 30-25 game two decision.
Spoden tallied six kills on six attacks in the third game, as the Panthers won the third game, 30-26. While Spoden was leading the way for the Panthers, Matthews was not to be out-done. Down 14-10 in the third game, Matthews got tangled up with two teammates in the front row. After attempting to get up from the ground twice, the crafty senior decided to stay on the ground, received a pass and made a perfect set to Bienemy for a kill. The highlight would start a mini-rally for the Bulldogs. However, it was a Spoden ace at 25-19 that stretched the Panthers' lead, as the game ended 30-26.
A combonation of seven Karen Fruit kills and .061 hitting from Butler gave UW-Milwaukee the fourth game, 30-21. For the match, the Panthers hit .225, compared to the Bulldogs' .168 mark.
The Panthers advance to Sunday's championship match. The top seed will take on rival UW-Green Bay in the 1 p.m. EST match. UW-Green Bay, the tournament's No. 3 seed, advanced with a 30-24, 43-45, 30-21, 22-30, 15-8 semifinal win over No. 2 Loyola. "Co-Player of the Year" Janelle Tomlinson led the Phoenix with 30 kills.