VERNON, Texas — For the first time since the 2012 season, the Grizzlies start the year 2-0 after defeating Lamar (Colo.) and Trinity Valley (Texas) on Friday afternoon in day one of the Vernon Classic.
The Grizzlies started hot with a three-set sweep over Lamar, winning the first set by a large 25-10 margin. Butler went down to the wire for a 25-21 victory in the second set, then closed out the match with a 25-20 win.
Freshman middle blocker Milayna Hollinger led the team with 10 kills on 17 attempts and no errors. Sophomore setter Sydney Scanlon finished the game with 27 assists, five aces while adding in seven digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Montana Soderberg led in digs in the match with 12.
Butler's second match of the day with Trinity Valley saw a back-and-forth match, with the Cardinals taking a 1-0 lead after a 27-25 exhausting first set. Butler responded with a 25-8 thumping in set two to tie the match at 1-all.
The Cardinals regained the lead in set three by a 25-20 secore, but Butler answered again after the set loss and re-tied the match 25-20 to force a fifth set. Butler edged out Trinity Valley 15-13 in the deciding set to end the match.
Freshman outside hitter Morgan Bryand had a team-high 16 kills, followed by sophomore outside hitter Amalie Rupertova, who finished with 11 kills. Soderberg continued her strong defensive presence with 21 digs and added three aces, while Scanlon set up her power hitters all day chalking up 41 set assists in the match.
Butler will finish out the four-game Classic with two matches Saturday, beginning with a 9:00 a.m. contest against Laredo (Texas). The Grizzlies will finish the day against Lee (Texas) at 1:00 p.m.
After this weekend's action, Butler will host its home opener against defending Jayhawk Conference champion Seward County on Wednesday. Seward is ranked fourth in the NJCAA Division I Top 20 preseason poll. Wednesday's match gets underway from the Power Plant at 6:30 p.m., with all students presenting school IDs getting in free.