LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team fell to Butler, 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 19-25, 17-25) on Friday afternoon in the season opener for both teams during the first day of competition at the Bluegrass Battle in Lexington, Kentucky.
Lindsey Owens led the Hokies (0-1) with a career-high 18 kills, hitting .359 on the attack. Kennedy Bryan added 11 kills and Katie Krueger came off the bench for nine. Jordan Fish and freshman Kyra Coundourides split time at setter, tallying 26 and 20 assists, respectively.
The Hokies took the lead in the opening set and were up 13-6, but the Bulldogs responded with a 10-4 run to cut the Tech advantage down to 17-16. Virginia Tech scored on three of the next four rallies to go up 20-17 off a kill from Owens. The Hokies closed out the set outscoring the Bulldogs 5-3 to secure the win and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, the Hokies again jumped out to an early lead and were up 10-5 following a kill by Bryan, but Butler kept it close and trailed by one (13-12) at the midway point. The Hokies held on to the lead and were on top 16-15 before Butler scored the next four points to move ahead 19-16. Tech would get no closer than two in the final rallies as Butler went on to win 25-20.
Butler came out strong in the third set, taking an early 8-3 lead. The two teams traded points over the next few rallies with the Bulldogs holding a 19-12 lead before the Hokies went on a little run of their own to cut it down to 19-15 late in the set. That is as close as it would get in the final points with the Bulldogs taking the set 25-19.
The two teams traded points early in the final set before Butler broke open the scoring to go up 11-6. Tech cut it down to a three point deficit at 14-11 off an Owens’ kill, but the Bulldogs outscored the Hokies 11-6 the rest of the way to claim the set and the match.
Belle Obert led the Bulldogs (1-0) with 12 kills. Kayla Bivins and Mary Striedl posted 10 each. Makayla Ferguson put up 37 assists and notched a team-best 10 digs.
The Hokies will take on Witchita State Saturday at noon before facing host-team Kentucky in the night match at 8 p.m.
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