VERNON, Texas – Butler volleyball opened the 2017 regular season with three wins at the Vernon Invitational this weekend.
On Friday, the Grizzlies won their opening match against Clarendon (TX), then fell in three straight sets to Trinity Valley (TX) to finish 1-1 on the day. Butler recovered with a pair of three-set sweeps over North Lake (TX) and Labette on Saturday.
Butler (3-1 overall) needed five sets to pick up its first win against Clarendon (25-11, 24-26, 25-19, 24-26, 15-13), then lost a hard-fought match against Trinity Valley (25-27, 17-25, 26-28). The Grizzlies picked up their first sweep of the season against North Lake (25-21, 25-20, 25-19), then finished the invitational with another three-set sweep against Labette (25-18, 25-17, 25-19).
In Friday's match against Clarendon, sophomore middle hitter Aliyah Bernard led the Grizzlies with nine kills, hitting .444 with seven blocks and three aces. Sophomore outside hitter Brooke Fender added nine kills, three aces and 10 digs, while freshman middle hitter Claudia Hess finished with seven kills and a block. Freshman outside hitter Braylon Daniels hit a .333 percentage with six kills. Sophomore setter Andie Nibarger had 18 assists, sophomore setter Alex Stiles had 13 assists with 11 digs, and sophomore libero Abby Goodrum finished with 13 digs.
In the loss to Trinity Valley, Hess had a strong performance with nine kills while hitting .421. Bernard finished with five hits, hit .294 and had two blocks. Nibarger led Butler with 16 assists,, while Abby Goodrum had 14 digs.
Against North Lake, Nibarger finished with 17 assists, two kills and one ace. Freshman setter Erin Goodrum had 11 assists and two aces, while Hess led the Grizzlies with 11 kills, hit .348 and had two blocks. Bernard had eight kills and Fender added seven kills while hitting .500 and two aces.
Versus Labette, Fender led Butler with nine kills, hit .318 and added three aces and a block. Sophomore middle hitter Jordyn Allen hit at a .462 clip with seven kills and had one block, while Daniels had eight kills and six digs. Bernard added five kills while hitting .556 and had two aces. Nibarger (16 assists) and Stiles (14 assists) combined for 30 of Butler's 33 assists and Abby Goodrum finished with 10 digs.
Next up for Butler will be the home opener against Jayhawk Conference foe Barton on Wednesday. The match will get underway at 6:30 p.m. from the Power Plant.