2012 Butler Volleyball
The First Serve
After playing its first seven matches on the road, the Butler volleyball team will host the Butler Classic at Hinkle Fieldhouse this weekend. Butler will play Western Illinois and Stephen F. Austin before a Saturday night showdown vs. Indiana.
Competition will be stiff this weekend, as the four teams boast a combined 18-8 record entering the weekend. Butler, SFA and IU all have five wins and Western Illinois enters with a 3-3 mark.
The Bulldogs (5-2) have won five of six, including a 3-1 mark over the last week. BU went 2-1 at Pittsburgh before claiming a 3-2 win at IUPUI on Tuesday.
Butler has been led by juniors Morgan Peterson and Maggie Harbison in recent matches. Each were tabbed all-tournament at Pitt last week, while Harbison led BU with 21 kills at IUPUI. Peterson has been all-tournament in both of Butler's opening weekends. Sophomore Belle Obert was leading Butler in kills before suffering an injury at Pittsburgh. Butler is currently led in blocking by Erica Stahl while Peterson also leads the team in digs.
Also, Friday's morning match against Western Illinois will be the team's promotional Math Day. Approximately 500 young children will be in attendance. Fans who have a football ticket on Saturday will be able to also attend the Butler-Indiana volleyball match.
Butler will stay at home next weekend, as it will host another four-team invitational. SEMO, Kent State, and UC-Davis will come to Hinkle Sept. 14-15. BU also travels to former league foe Wright State Tuesday, Sept. 11.
SET AT SETTER: Morgan Peterson, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State, has been a big reason for Butler's 5-2 start. In her Butler debut, the 6-0 junior was named MVP at DePaul after posting 8.83 assists, 2.42 digs, 1.17 blocks and 1.08 kills per set. She was also tabbed all-tourney at Pitt, posting 9.55 assists, 2.00 digs and 0.82 blocks. She then had 53 assists and 15 digs in BU's 3-2 win at IUPUI.
BUTLER ON THE BLOCK: BU is leading the Atlantic 10 with 2.98 blocks per set. In seven matches, Butler has had more blocks than its opponent six times. BU is 5-1 when winning the blocks battle. Butler owned a 19-7 blocks advantage at IUPUI, the difference in the 3-2 win.
BLOCK LEADER: Erica Stahl, a 6-4 Indy native who transferred to Butler from Cincinnati, leads BU and ranks second in the A-10 with 1.48 blocks per set. Stahl has posted 6+ blocks five times this season, including a season-high nine stops at IUPUI. She also made eight blocks vs. Coastal Carolina at Pitt.
5-SET THRILLERS: Butler is now 3-0 in matches that last five sets, claiming wins over DePaul, Coastal Carolina and IUPUI. The wins over DePaul and IUPUI were on the road and BU trailed 2-1 in each match. Butler led CCU 2-1 before hanging on to win in five sets.
OPENING BELLE: After being an all-newcomer team pick last year as a freshman, Belle Obert started her sophomore year by being named all-tournament at DePaul, leading BU with 2.75 kills per set. She owns three double-doubles this season and had a career-high 19 kills vs. Coastal Carolina. She then injured an ankle last weekend vs. Pittsburgh.
BU ALL-TIME vs. SFA, WIU: Butler is 7-2 against its first two opponents of the weekend. That includes a 6-1 mark vs. Western Illinois, though BU hasn't played WIU since 2004. Butler and SFA played two seasons ago in Texas, with BU falling 3-2.
BUTLER vs. IU: Butler is 2-7 all-time against Indiana, with the wins coming in 1993 and 1996. The two schools haven't met since 2002. This is IU's first visit to Hinkle Fieldhouse for volleyball.
NEW COACHES: Butler hired a completely new staff this offseason, adding Lenika Vazquez and Camille Gutierrez as assistant coaches. In addition, former Indiana player Ivie Obeime has signed on as director of operations.
IU CONNECTION: Butler's director of operations, Ivie Obeime, played at Indiana for three seasons (2009-11). She graduated from IU in 2011.
MAGGIE MAKES PLAYS: Junior Maggie Harbison was an all-league player last season and she has maintained that level of play in 2012. She was an all-tourney pick at Pittsburgh last weekend and led BU with 21 kills in a win at IUPUI. Last season, she was second in the conference in blocks per set and third in the league in aces per set.
MARATHON SET: Although Butler handily swept Eastern Illinois last week at Pittsburgh, EIU made BU work in the second set. The Bulldogs led big early but Eastern Illinois came back and had set point five different times. Butler eventually held on for a 32-30 set win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
LIBERO SOPHOMORES: Sophomores Brooke Ruffolo and Jadyn Yarling are the team's defensive starters.Ruffolo, a 2011 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team pick, averaged 4.44 digs per set last year. Yarling played so well in the spring and preseason that she has been starting.
LEAVING THE LEAGUE: The 2012 season is BU's first in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Butler went 34-14 and won the 2010 league tournament title during its last three Horizon League campaigns. That includes a 13-3 record in 2010 and an 11-5 mark last year.