Ticket Punched; Butler wins first ever Region VI title and advances to NJCAA National Tournament

Ticket Punched; Butler wins first ever Region VI title and advances to NJCAA National Tournament

The Butler Grizzlies volleyball team continued their unprecedented success this season, defeating the Seward County Saints in straight sets in the Region VI championship game (25-18, 25-11, 25-17) to win the Grizzlies' first ever Region championship.

It's been a historic season for head coach Lisa Lechtenberg's team, ranked third nationally. The Grizzlies won both the conference title and the region championship for the first time in program history. Today's win improved their record to 35-2, and improved their win streak to 31 matches in a row. The Grizzlies finish unbeaten at home for the first time ever, and unbeaten in conference play, for the first time ever. 

The Grizzlies beat Seward the way they've beat most teams this season: in a sweep. The Saints, ranked 14th in the country, were the only team in the conference that gave the Grizzlies a scare, pushing Butler to a fifth set when the two teams played in September. There would be no scare at the Power Plant today.

The two teams would trade points in the first set, but Butler was able to get a 20-14 lead, and that lead would be enough, as the Grizzlies took the first set 25-18. Kayli Duncan and Jaryn Benning led Butler in the first set with four kills.

The second set was more dominant. The Grizzlies trailed early, but went on a 12-1 run to put the team on the brink of the title.

The third set was all business. Seward was forced into an early timeout after the Grizzlies jumped out to a 4-0 run. The Saints would cut that lead to three but they would get no closer, and the Grizzlies secured the region title with an eight point victory.

The Grizzlies have used a balanced attack all season, and it would be the key to victory again today. Four players had five kills or more, led by Kayli Duncan's dominating 13. Jaryn Benning contributed nine kills of her own. Butler was led defensively by Caitlyn Rexroat's 15 digs, and she would also lead the team in aces with three. 

With the win, Butler will punch their ticket to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson to try to cap off an already historic season with the program's first ever national title. The Natonal Tournemant will be November 18-20 in the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, KS.