Butler volleyball won its sixth consecutive match with a dominating three-set home victory over Pratt on Friday night at the Power Plant.
The Grizzlies (16-9 overall, 8-6 conference) easily won the opening set 25-9, then took the final two sets 25-15 and 25-18 to defeat the Beavers. Butler has now won 18 sets in a row, winning their last six matches in three sets each.
"The girls are getting better and starting to understand the game better," said Butler head coach Lisa Lechtenberg. "We've started to watch film twice a week instead of just once. Through those scouting reports, we look at opponent's defense and where their holes are. I really think the girls are starting to mature on the court in that sense and putting it into action."
Butler jumped all over Pratt in the opening set by taking an 8-1 lead and scoring seven straight. During the Grizzly 7-0 run, middle blocker Milayna Hollinger put down three kills and had two blocks. Butler pieced together a 5-0 run midway through the set for a 17-7 lead. The Grizzlies then ended the set with a Morgan Bryand ace and an Amalie Rupertova kill.
Things didn't slow down for the Butler offense in set two as sophomore setter Sydney Scanlon served the first five points of the set while adding an ace. The Grizzlies continued their strong and aggressive offense the remainder of the match and led by as many as 12 points (24-12). Pratt scored three points at the end of the set before an errant serve hit the net, giving Butler a 2-0 set lead.
Keera Parks keyed Butler's start in the third set, serving up the first five points of the set - including consecutive aces for a 5-0 advantage and leading to a Pratt timeout. Following the short break, Pratt closed the gap to 6-4 after the short break, then the set turned into a game of runs, as both teams found rhythm. Butler had the longest run as Morgan Bryand served up five straight points for an 18-11 Grizzly advantage, but Pratt answered back with a three-point run to cut the lead to 18-14.
A Jaryn Benning kill would spark a three-point run for the Grizzlies and they would have enough momentum to finish it out taking set three 25-18.
Butler had eight aces on the evening, with Parks leading the way with three. Bryand and Benning each finished with two. Overall, the Grizzlies hit .333 as a team and was led by Amalie Rupertova's eight kills. Bryand finished with a .500 hit clip and had five kills, while Benning hit .417 with six kills.
Hollinger had a team-high seven blocks, with Benning led the Grizzlies with 11 digs and added four blocks. Scanlon had 22 of Butler's 25 assists in the win.
Butler will hit the road for two straight matches beginning with a 6:30 p.m. contest at Barton on Monday in Great Bend. Barton (18-10, 8-2) has won four straight and edged Butler in a five-set thriller back on Sept. 25 in El Dorado. The Grizzlies will then play at Hutchinson (10-17, 6-6) on Wednesday in a 6:30 p.m. match at the Hutch Sports Arena. Butler earned a three-set sweep back on Sept. 23 over the Blue Dragons, who have lost six straight matches.
Butler currently sits in fourth place in the Jayhawk West standings, just two games behind Barton and one game ahead of Hutchinson. The top four teams will host a first-round playoff game on Wednesday, Nov. 6
"Those two matches are pretty crucial," said Lechtenberg. "We just need to keep our composure, take care of our side of the court and play Butler volleyball."
The Grizzlies return home for a non-conference match on Monday, Oct. 28 against Neosho County at 6:30 p.m., as the sophomore class will be honored before the match.