2011 Butler Volleyball
The First Serve
The Butler volleyball team will continue its late-season climb up the Horizon League standings this weekend when it plays at Green Bay and Loyola. BU will play at Green Bay Thursday night and then go to Chicago to take on Loyola Saturday afternoon.
Butler entered last weekend in fifth place but finished the weekend in third. The Bulldogs defeated Valparaiso and UIC at home to improve to 8-5. Valpo is also 8-5 in the league standings, but Butler would have the tie-breaker for third place via its win over Cleveland State. The Bulldogs are 1.5 games behind CSU for second place with three matches left in the regular season.
BU has already defeated both Green Bay and Loyola, taking them down on consecutive days in early October at Hinkle Fieldhouse. That was the beginning of Butler's current 7-1 streak.
Green Bay is an improved team that has clinched a spot in the league tournament. The Phoenix is 6-6 in the conference and is second in the league in digs and third in hitting percentage. Loyola, led by first-year coach Chris Muscat, is 1-11 in conference play.
Blocking has been the big story for Butler, as sophomore Maggie Harbison leads the league in blocks with 1.15 per set. She and sophomore Claire Randich each had 15 blocks last weekend. As a team, BU leads the Horizon League at 2.51 per set.
After this weekend's matches, Butler will play at Wright State Friday, Nov. 11 in the regular season finale.
MOVING TO THIRD: Butler entered last weekend with a 6-5 league record and looking up at Valparaiso and UIC. BU defeated both teams to pass them in the standings, and now the Dawgs have the inside track at third place in the standings. Cleveland State is 9-3 and in second, while Milwaukee has already clinched the regular season title.
BU ALL-TIME vs. THIS WEEK: Butler leads the all-time series vs. Green Bay 29-8. BU has won five of the last seven meetings against the Phoenix. Butler is 30-30 all-time against Loyola. The Bulldogs have won four of the last five matches against the Ramblers.
HOT STREAK: In Butler's last seven matches (a 6-1 stretch for BU), the Bulldogs are holding opponents to .135 hitting. During the stretch, Butler is averaging 3.10 block per set and four different players are getting at least 1.00 blocks a set.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brooke Ruffolo has earned the league's defensive player of the week honor twice this season. Ruffolo averaged 5.43 digs in Butler's road wins at Cleveland State and Youngstown State. She was also player of the week on Sept. 12.
ALL-TOURNEY DAWGS: Four Bulldogs were named all-tournament during the three weekends of non-conference action. Maggie Harbison was tabbed all-tournament at Notre Dame and Maureen Bamiro was on the all-tourney team at Portland. Brooke Ruffolo and Kelly Kyle were each honored after standout performances in Butler's invite. Kyle averaged 3.90 kills per set during the event, while Ruffolo had 6.00 digs.
GETTING CLAIRE BACK: Claire Randich, a Horizon League all-newcomer pick last year, missed 10 matches this year due to injury, but she has been a factor lately. Randich averaged 2.10 kils and 1.10 blocks per set over the last seven matches.
BU HITS ON 21: Butler has won 21 matches in each of the last two seasons. That's the most in a 2-year span since 1996-97 (54 wins). BU went 21-14 in 2009 and 21-10 last year.
HOME SWEET HINKLE: The Bulldogs finished this season 9-4 at home. BU is 28-7 at Hinkle Fieldhouse dating back to 2009. BU was 9-0 at home in 2009 and 10-3 last season.
NEED A GB REPEAT: In Butler's last trip to Green Bay, the Bulldogs won in five sets and Maureen Bamiro had 19 kills on .400 hitting. She also had seven blocks.
GET 'MO' BLOCKS: Maureen Bamiro, an All-Horizon League and All-Midwest Region last year, has moved into seventh on BU's all-time list with 444 total blocks. She needs 12 more stops to catch Chris DeWell for for sixth.
AND 'MO' OFFENSE: Maureen Bamiro has increased her offensive production as BU has won six of its last seven matches. She is averaging 3.12 kills per set on .335 hitting. She hit .588 (10-0-17) at Cleveland State back on Oct. 15.
GINA'S MOVING UP: Gina Vera is now fifth on Butler's all-time list with 3,427 assists, recently passing current assistant coach Dana Daprile's career total of 3,320. She is more than 500 assists short of fourth.
AVCA HONORS: Jessica Wolfe, now on the coaching staff as a student assistant, is one of only two Bulldog players to become honorable mention AVCA All-American twice (Areal Bienemy, 2003-04). Maureen Bamiro was also selected All-Midwest Region by the coaches association last year.