The Butler volleyball team used a balanced offensive attack to escape with a thrilling five-game, 30-25, 32-30, 27-30, 35-37, 15-13 win over Rice on Saturday (Nov. 30) at University of New Mexico's Albuturkey Tournament. The victory over the Owls concluded Butler's 2002 campaign with a 15-20 record, while Rice ended its season with an 18-16 mark.
Senior Keely Norris ended her career with the Bulldogs on a high note, recording a team-best 20 kills, while hitting .306 on the match. Kali Carter and Megan Knightly each recorded double-doubles for Butler as Carter finished with 18 kills and a team-high 17 digs and Knightly tallied 12 kills and 14 digs. Carter also served up a match-high five aces to lead the Bulldogs. Areal Bienemy rounded out Butler's offensive attack by providing 17 kills. Junior setter Amanda Matthews, who was named to the All-Tournament team, also recorded a double-double, dishing out a match-high 60 assists to go along with 14 digs.
Rice's Rebeca Neal, who was also named to the all-tournament team, pounded out 35 kills against the Bulldogs, while hitting an impressive .397 (35-6-73). She also added 14 digs and five block assists to her totals. Catherine DuPont also recorded a double-double, finishing with 13 kills and 13 digs. Rebekah Neal finished with 56 assists and 12 assists for the Owls.
Rice held a commanding edge on blocking, finishing with 14.5 team blocks compared to Butler's six blocks. The Bulldogs countered Rice's blocking efforts, though, with 12 service aces. Six different Butler players recorded at least one ace on the match. The Bulldogs hit .215 on the match, while the Owls posted a .211 clip.
No. 21 UCLA won the Albuturkey Tournament, finishing with a 3-0 record. The host Lobos captured a second-place finish with a 2-1 mark. Butler came in third place at 1-2, after losing to the Bruins and New Mexico yesterday, and Rice concluded its season with an 0-3 record in the tournament.
Butler will return 11 letterwinners to next year's squad, including Matthews and Knightly who was cited to the Horizon League All-Newcomer team.