2011 Butler Volleyball
The First Serve
The Butler volleyball team will conclude its regular season at Wright State this weekend. The Bulldogs can clinch the No. 3 spot in the league standings with a win. Butler has won nine of 10 entering this weekend’s match in Dayton.
Butler has won four matches in a row since falling against Milwaukee nearly three weeks ago. Last weekend, the Bulldogs went up to Green Bay and won a five-setter before rolling against at Loyola last Saturday.
Freshman Belle Obert had her best weekend of the season, averaging 4.11 kills per set. She had a career-high 16 kills at Green Bay, then topped that with 21 kills at Loyola. Another surging player is sophomore Maggie Harbison, who now leads the Horizon League with 1.12 blocks per set. As a team, Butler is the league’s top blocking team with 2.58 per set.
Butler has already faced Wright State once this season, routing the Raiders in a sweep back on Oct. 4. The Butler win at Hinkle Fieldhouse was the catalyst to the team’s current run, as BU has won eight of nine since that night. WSU hit just .019 and Butler had 13.0 team blocks in the blowout. Wright State also won twice last weekend, beating Green Bay and Loyola just as Butler did. The Raiders enter Friday’s match having won three of their last four.
After this weekend’s matches, Butler will play in the 2011 Horizon League Volleyball Championship. The six-team tourney, which will be in Milwaukee, runs Nov. 18-20. The tournament champion advances to the NCAA Tournament.
MOVING TO THIRD: Butler enters this weekend with a 10-5 league record and a strong shot at the No. 3 spot in the Horizon League. Cleveland State, at 11-3, still has two matches to play but would own a tie-breaker against BU because of its sweep over Valparaiso. Milwaukee, undefeated headed into the final weekend of play, has clinched home-court advantage for the league tournament.
WHAT DOES #3 MEAN?: Butler, should it defeat WSU this Friday, will take on the No. 6 seed in the first round of the league tourney. The sixth team in the bracket will be either Green Bay or UIC.
BU ALL-TIME vs. WSU: Butler leads the all-time series vs. Wright State 28-21. BU has won the last five meetings against the Raiders dating back to 2009. Sharon Clark is 12-12 against Wright State in her 12 seasons at Butler.
HOT STREAK: In Butler’s last 10 matches (a 9-1 stretch for BU), the Bulldogs are holding opponents to .129 hitting. During the stretch, Butler is averaging 3.25 block per set and four different players are getting at least 1.00 blocks a set.
BEST BLOCKERS: Butler leads the Horizon League with 2.58 blocks per set, holding first over Milwaukee (2.41). In league play, the Bulldogs are averaging 3.00 blocks per set, nearly twice the total of their HL opponents (1.55).
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 2.17 kills and 1.11 blocks per set over her last nine matches.
SEEING SINES: Casey Sines, who came to Butler after playing two seasons at Memphis, played in her first collegiate match last weekend at Loyola. She had transferred to Butler and had sat out with injuries until last Saturday, when she had three blocks vs. the Ramblers.
GET ‘MO’ BLOCKS: Maureen Bamiro, an All-Horizon League and All-Midwest Region last year, has moved into fifth on BU’s all-time list with 462 total blocks. She needs 27 more stops to catch Jill Spurgeon for fourth in school history.
AND ‘MO’ OFFENSE: Maureen Bamiro is leading the Dawgs with 2.76 kills per set, and she is 22 kills away from 1,000 in her career.
GINA’S MOVING UP: Gina Vera is now fifth on Butler’s all-time list with 3,510 assists, recently passing current assistant coach Dana Daprile’s career total of 3,320. She is more than 484 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.