The Butler volleyball team survived a five-set match against Barton on Wednesday at the Power Plant to earn its first conference victory and first home victory of the season.
Butler won for the first time on their home floor this season, but had to come from behind in the fifth set to do so. The Grizzlies (3-8 overall, 1-2 KJCCC), who had a six-game losing streak end last weekend in Texas, have now won two in a row.
"It's really good because we're starting to get some confidence," Butler coach Rick Younger said. "We haven't been able to catch a lot of breaks, so tonight, fortunately, we were able to catch some at the very end. It was a very good win."
Butler won the first set, jumping out to a 7-2 lead and cruising from there to a 25-16 win. The Grizzlies then struggled mightily in the second set and lost 25-14.
In the third set, Barton took a 17-13 lead, only to see the Grizzlies tie the set 17-17 on a service ace by Hanna McCarty. Then, trailing 19-18, Butler scored four straight points, eventually getting a 25-20 win after outscoring Barton 7-1 to end the set.
Butler again struggled in the fourth set, at one point trailing 18-10. Butler rallied back within three points before losing 25-19.
That set up a winner-take-all fifth set. Butler scored the first two points, followed by four straight from Barton. The set went back and forth from that point, with Butler leading 10-9, only to see Barton score three straight to seemingly take control.
Butler scored two straight to tie the set before Barton took a 13-12 lead. Younger called for a timeout to freeze the Barton server and the strategy worked as the ball sailed long and out of bounds.
With the score tied, Butler put away the final two points of the match, the last on a kill by Maddison Britton to end the contest. The Grizzlies outscored Barton 5-1 to finish the set.
The Grizzlies, who played in Texas last weekend, will once again be heading to the Lone Star state for four more matches this weekend. Butler will face Frank Phillips and Odessa on Friday and Hill and Midland on Saturday.
"It's going to be a tough one," Younger said. "It would be nice to win three out of four, but some of those Texas teams are usually pretty salty. It's really just to prepare us for conference. It will be a good learning experience for us."