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Butler Drops Two Matches at Bluegrass Battle

August 31, 2014


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Butler volleyball team finished the Bluegrass Battle with a 1-2 overall record after taking a pair of losses on Saturday. The Bulldogs faced two teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season, taking a 3-0 loss at No. 19 Kentucky (21-25, 19-25, 21-25) in the morning, followed by a heartbreaking 3-2 loss vs. Wichita State that night (25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 20-25, 15-17).

Butler competed with nationally-ranked Kentucky, but eventually ran out of steam as they took the 3-0 setback. Saturday night's match was a very tough loss for the Bulldogs as Butler let a 2-0 lead slip away after the stoppage.

Butler didn't hit for a high percentage against Kentucky as Belle Obert was the only Bulldog to reach a double figure kill total. Mary Striedl and Stephanie Kranda made the most of their opportunities hitting .316 and .250 to lead the team offensively.

"Today's match against Kentucky was filled with energy," Head Coach Sharon Clark expressed. "It was a great defensive battle that really came down to unforced errors. Kentucky was masterful and disciplined in that area."

Brooke Ruffolo and Makayla Ferguson each stepped up for Butler defensively, but it was Jadyn Yarling stealing the spotlight on the stat sheet with a season-high 18 digs against the Wildcats.

"Jadyn played great for us today," Clark said. "She put together one of her best defensive efforts of her career."

Makayla Ferguson was once again in charge of setting up the BU offensive attack. She ended the match with 28 assists, seven digs and two kills.

"On the stat sheet the match was fairly even, but in reality they finished balls very well," Clark added. "We needed to serve better in order to get them out of their system but it just didn't happen today. In the end, UK showed why they are ranked No. 19 in the country."

Kentucky used a balanced attack to defeat Butler in the morning match. Anni Thomasson led UK with 11 kills, Morgan Bergren totaled 25 assists and Jackie Napper was the defensive catalyst with 17 digs.

Butler battled UK in the opening set taking a tied score deep into the action at 18-18. The Wildcats took control soon after with a 5-0 run late that led to the 25-21 victory. Set two was also tight early, but an 8-1 run pushed the score to 17-9. The Bulldogs got back within three at 20-17, but the lead proved to be too much as Kentucky took a 2-0 lead into the break. The third and final set against Kentucky was much like the second as a scoring run from UK gave the Wildcats a favorable lead midway through the contest. Butler got within five points at 23-18, but the damage had been done as UK recorded the sweep with a 25-21 win.  

The nightcap featured Butler playing as the visitors against Wichita State. Mary Striedl came up with a double-double by recording 12 kills and a team-high 25 digs. Jadyn Yarling was once again the focal point of the defensive unit as she ended the match with 24 digs. The third Bulldog to reach a double figure dig total was freshman Marissa Collier (12).

"Wow, what a match," Clark expressed after the Wichita State game. "We had some ups and downs, including losing our setter to a sprained ankle, but the team continued to fight. We came up short with too many service errors (13), which is really out of character for us."

Bell Obert, Erica Stahl and Stephanie Kranda led the BU offense vs. the Shockers. Obert came up with a season-high 22 kills. She just missed a double-double by adding nine digs while also tallying four blocks.

"We got great all-around play out of Belle and amazing defense from both Jadyn and Marissa Collier."

Wichita State came back to earn the win behind the strong level of play from Emily Hiebert, Mikaela Raudsepp and Kristin Byers. Hiebert hit a double-double with 52 assists and 20 digs. The tandem of Raudsepp and Byers combined for 28 kills.

Butler handled Wichita State 25-20 in each of the first two sets, but the Shockers fought back to tie the action at 2-2. The fifth set was action packed with each team giving it their all for the victory. Butler reached match point first as Obert sent a kill to the hardwood that made the score 14-12. A BU service error kept Wichita State alive and Raudsepp tied the match at 14-14 moments later.

With the game tied at 15-15, it was Katie Reilly coming up with a big kill to move the Shockers within one point of the win. MaryAston Floyd would follow with the game-winner as Wichita State won for the first time this weekend.

Butler will return to action next weekend by competing in the Chippewa Invitational. 

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