COLUMBUS, Neb. – The Butler volleyball team won three of four matches this weekend at the Central Nebraska Invitational, with the only loss coming to the host school on its home floor.
On Friday, Butler won a five-set thriller over Casper (Wyo.), which is ranked 19th in the NJCAA Division I polls. The Grizzlies lost the first set 25-19 before winning the second 25-23. Casper won a marathon third set by a 30-28 score putting Butler's back to the wall. The Grizzlies responded by taking the fourth game 25-19 and then outlasting Casper 17-15 in the fifth game for the win.
Kailan Kuzmic led the offense in the match with 16 kills and 15 digs. Mary Kangas had 31 assists with 21 digs and three service aces. Kailee Dudley added eight kills and two blocks. Jessica Scwartz led the defense with 28 digs.
In the second match on Friday, Butler swept Marshalltown (Iowa) but needed two big comebacks to do so in a 25-20, 25-23, 27-25 win. In each of the last two games, Butler trailed by as many as seven points before coming back to win.
Briana Pugh had seven kills and a block, Mackenzie Stuever had six kills and three blocks, Kailee Dudley also had six kills and three blocks. Kailan Kuzmic had 15 assists and two service aces while Jessica Schwartz had 16 digs.
On Saturday, Butler had a rematch against Central Nebraska, the No. 5 team in the NJCAA Division II poll. For the second time this season, Butler lost a close five-set match to the Raiders. Butler won the first two sets by scores of 25-14 and 25-19 and had a chance to go for the sweep before losing three straight sets by scores of 25-27, 22-25 and 11-15.
Kailan Kuzmic had 16 kills, 15 digs and an ace, Payton White had 11 kills and four blocks, Jessi Green had nine kills, two aces, four blocks and 23 digs, Mackenzie Stuever added seven kills, two aces, and three blocks. Mary Kangas had 40 assists, three aces and 11 digs. Jesssica Schwartz had 27 digs.
The Grizzlies bounced back in the final match of the tournament to defeat Southeastern (Neb.) in fives sets, 25-13, 20-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-8.
Payton White had 10 kills and three blocks, Kailee Dudley and Kailan Kuzmic had nine kills each and Lexi Wartick added seven kills. Mary Kangas had 32 assists and 16 digs and Jessica Schwartz had 23 digs. Lauren Hug also had 16 digs.
Butler is now 6-4 on the season. The Grizzlies are 1-1 in Jayhawk Conference play and will return to conference action on Wednesday with a road match at Neosho County at 6:30 p.m.