Bulldogs Host Saint Louis In Must-Win Saturday Match

Bulldogs Host Saint Louis In Must-Win Saturday Match

2012 Butler Volleyball

Butler (16-11, 6-7) vs. Saint Louis (10-18, 4-9)
Friday, Nov. 2 - 5 p.m. ET
Hinkle Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, Ind.  
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The First Serve

The Butler volleyball team brings a four-match winning streak into this weekend's season finale, a Saturday evening match against Saint Louis. A win over the Billikens would lift the Bulldogs to a .500 record in their first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference. 

The Dawgs made quick work of both La Salle and Temple last weekend, putting themselves in position for a spot in the conference tournament. A Butler win and a Duquesne win over George Washington should be enough to get BU to sixth place and the final spot in the tournament. Dayton, Xavier, VCU, Duquesne and Temple have all secured spots in the tourney.

Butler and Saint Louis, who are travel partners in conference play, faced each other back on Oct. 6. SLU won the match 3-1, with Butler taking the second set. Maggie Harbison led Butler with 14 kills and nine digs in that match at Saint Louis.

One of the top blocking teams in the nation, Butler is led at the net by sophomore Erica Stahl and junior Claire Randich. Both Stahl and Randich are among the A-10's leaders in blocks. Harbison and sophomore Belle Obert are BU's leading hitters and sophomore Brooke Ruffolo is the libero and digs leader.

Saint Louis brings a balanced offensive attack with four players averaging 2.14 kills or better. Grace Bonoma averages 4.62 digs per set and Carly Marcum is the team's top blocker.  

Saturday's contest vs. SLU is the final match of the regular season. Should Butler climb to the sixth spot in the standings, it will travel to Duquesne for the 2012 Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship Nov. 16-18.


STANDINGS UPDATE: A win would make Butler .500 in conference play, and allow BU to potentially enter the league tourney on a five-match winning streak. The Bulldogs will get into the tournament with a win over SLU and a Duquesne win over George Washington. The Dukes host GW, where they are unbeaten at home this season.

SOMETHING ABOUT SLU: Saint Louis is playing its last match of the year, as it cannot make the league championship. SLU is 10-18 and, like Butler has a balanced offensive attack. The Billikens rank second in the A-10 with 17.11 digs per set. 

PREVIOUS MEETING: Saint Louis had four players with double-digit digs and Anna Church had a double-double to defeat Butler 3-1 back on Oct. 6. Maggie Harbison (14 kills) and Brooke Ruffolo (24 digs) led the Bulldogs. 

IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Butler appears on the NCAA national leaderboard in blocks and aces. The Bulldogs are sixth in the nation with 3.05 blocks per set and 29th in the country in aces at 1.48. Individually, Erica Stahl stands 13th in the nation in blocks at 1.53 per set. Claire Randich is also in the top 80 in blocks (77th, 1.18). 

BU ALL-TIME vs. THIS SLU: The Bulldogs are 14-6 all-time against the Billikens. Butler's last win over Saint Louis came in 2004. Sharon Clark is 2-2 against Saint Louis.

YOU'VE BEEN SERVED: Butler leads the Atlantic 10 in service aces with 1.48 per set. Last weekend in a pair of victories, the Bulldogs tallied 15 aces over seven sets. Butler has 26 aces in its last three matches. Morgan Peterson leads the team and ranks eighth in the A-10 at 0.30 aces pet set. 

BUTLER ON THE BLOCK: The Bulldogs have four players (Erica Stahl, Claire Randich, Morgan Peterson, Maggie Harbison) who average 0.75 blocks per set or more. Butler owns a 16-5 record when winning the blocks battle.  

BIG HITTERS: Belle Obert and Maggie Harbison are BU's leading offensive players. Harbison owns team bests of 249 kills and 2.77 per set. Obert, who missed time due to injury in early September, averages a team-best 2.92 kills per set. Harbison owns five double-doubles and Obert has four. Obert's total of 19 kills vs. Coastal Carolina is Butler's highest single-match high this season.

TIME TO KILL: Butler is a perfect 14-0 when having more kills than its opponent. The Dawgs are 2-11 when having fewer kills in a match.

BLOCK LEADER: Erica Stahl, a 6-4 Indy native who transferred to Butler from Cincinnati, ranks second in the A-10 and 13th in the country with 1.53 blocks per set. Stahl has posted 6+ blocks 13 times this season, including three outings with 9+ blocks (at IUPUI, vs. SEMO, vs. Duquesne).  

DEFENDERS OF THE WEEK: Claire Randich and Erica Stahl have each been named Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week. Randich was honored on Sept. 10 after she led BU with 1.82 blocks per set at the Butler Classic. Stahl was recognized for her play at the Butler Invitational the next week, when she posted 1.79 blocks per set. 

5-SET THRILLERS: Butler is 4-0 in matches that last five sets, claiming wins over DePaul, Coastal Carolina, IUPUI and SEMO. Three of the four 3-2 victories saw Butler down 2-1 in the match only to come back to win. Butler led Coastal 2-1 before hanging on to win in five sets.

SET AT SETTER: Morgan Peterson does a little of everything as BU's starting setter. Peterson is averaging 9.48 assists and 2.47 digs while being among the league leaders in aces. On the attack, she has 116 kills on a .310 hitting percentage. In her Butler debut, the 6-0 junior was named MVP at DePaul and was also tabbed all-tourney at Pitt.