September 19, 2013

Butler Classic Set for Sept. 20-21

Twitter - @ButlerVB - @ButlerSID

Weekend Schedule (First Team Listed is Home Team)
Friday, Sept. 20
Butler vs. Green Bay – 11 a.m.
UT Martin vs. Toledo – 3 p.m.
Butler vs. UT Martin – 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 21
Toledo vs. Green Bay – 11 a.m.
Green Bay vs. UT Martin – 3 p.m.
Butler vs. Toledo – 7 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After posting a 2-1 record last weekend in the Butler Invitational, the Bulldogs will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse this weekend to host the Butler Classic from Sept. 20-21. Green Bay, UT Martin and Toledo will round out the field as Butler looks to continue a successful 2013 campaign.

About Butler (9-2)
The Bulldogs will host a four-team tournament for the second straight weekend as the Butler Classic extends the string of home matches on the Butler schedule. The team comes into Friday's action with an overall record of 9-2 after recently defeating Illinois State and IPFW in the Butler Invitational. The only losses for Butler this year came at Arizona and vs. No. 14 Michigan State.

Butler will use the Butler Classic as preparation for the upcoming BIG EAST schedule which gets underway on Friday, Sept. 27 when the team hosts the Xavier Musketeers at 7 p.m.

Multiple players have performed well for Butler early in the season which has led to the 9-2 overall record, but junior outside hitter Belle Obert has been consistent throughout all the matches leading her to multiple All-Tournament Team awards. Obert leads the team with 161.5 points and 133 kills. She has 82 digs to her credit to go along with 40 blocks.

Team blocks has been an important factor for the Bulldogs as the squad is currently ranked 10th in the country averaging 2.89 blocks per set. Junior Erica Stahl leads the team and is 35th in the nation with a blocks per set average of 1.34. Multiple players get involved defensively as the Bulldogs have five players with 20 blocks or more.

Morgan Peterson is an all-around player that provides the Bulldogs with senior leadership and versatility. Peterson leads the team with 372 assists (9.79 per set), but she also has 106 digs, 47 kills and 21 blocks. The senior setter leads the team with four double-doubles performances on the year, and she nearly recorded a triple-double last weekend against Illinois State with 49 assists, 18 digs, and eight kills in a five-set match.

Scouting Green Bay (4-5)
The 2013 season has been a rollercoaster for Green Bay as the Phoenix lost their first two matches of the year, but responded to win four-straight getting the team back above .500. Three of the four wins came in the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge where the team took down Troy (3-1), Auburn (3-2) and Mercer (3-0).

Green Bay enters the weekend on a three-match losing streak which includes a recent 3-0 loss to Marquette in their home opener. First year head coach Michaela Franklin faced the Eagles for the first time after spending the last four years of her career as an assistant coach for the Marquette volleyball program.

The Phoenix should be battled tested for Horizon League competition as their non-conference schedule featured multiple opponents who played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Green Bay faced No.23 Ohio State and Liberty in a tough NIU Invitational tournament. The team also played a doubleheader against Northern Iowa on Sept. 14.

Impact players for Green Bay include Leah Van Zeeland, Emily Riese and Jillian Bauer. Van Zeeland is a double-double threat as she leads the team with 109 kills (3.11 per set) and is near the team lead with 73 digs.

Riese sets the offensive tempo for Green Bay while Bauer serves as the defensive specialist. Riese leads the team with 339 assists (9.97 per set). She has also chipped in with 61 digs, 16 kills, 10 blocks and six service aces. Defensively, Bauer leads the team, Horizon League and is 26th in the country with a digs per set average of 5.19.

Scouting UT Martin (6-6)
The Skyhawks got off to a 6-2 start to the regular season, but a current four-match losing streak has the team back at .500 entering the weekend. UT Martin was unable to record a win at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash last weekend taking two 3-1 losses on Friday followed by a 3-2 setback to Nicholls State and a 3-0 sweep from host Alabama on Saturday.

UT Martin won their season opener 3-0 over Md. Eastern Shore, but a 3-1 loss to Western Illinois evened their overall record at 1-1. A four-match winning streak helped the Skyhawks improve their win column, but Tennessee put an end to the streak with a 3-1 win over the Skyhawks on Sept. 7.

Tennessee serves as a common opponent to both UT Martin and Butler as the Bulldogs swept Tennessee 3-0 in the Cincinnati Invitational during opening weekend. UT Martin shook off the loss to the Vols to win their last match of the day on Sept. 7 with a 3-2 victory over Chattanooga (23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 22-25, and 15-9).

The well-rounded offensive attack of UT Martin starts with the team's kill leader, Emily Keaton. Keaton has recorded 144 kills in 48 sets (3.00 per set) and is also a threat when serving the ball as she is second on the team with 15 service aces. Opponents will need to keep an eye out for Keaton and teammate Lynsey Hazelwood off the serve as Hazelwood leads the team and is 51st in the nation with an aces per set average of 0.45 (21 total).

Chelsea Bowler is another Skyhawk with national recognition as her 239 digs place her 40th in the country in the digs per set category (4.98).

Scouting Toledo (5-5)
The Rockets will use the Butler Classic as their final tune-up before the start of the Mid-American Conference schedule. Toledo most recently dropped two of three matches at the North Harbour Marriott Challenge taking 3-0 losses to both Oregon State and UC Davis. The lone win of the weekend came in a 3-2 decision over Portland.

Senior leadership is important for Toledo as the Rockets rely heavily on three upper classmen to impact matches on a nightly basis. Senior Lauren Rafdal leads the team with 3.46 kills per set and fellow senior Dakota Harkins is averaging a team-high 1.11 blocks per set. Harkins makes the most of her opportunities offensively as she also leads the team with a .359 attack percentage.

A third senior is in charge of setting up the offensive attack as Adria Pryor leads the team in assists (9.62 per set). Defensive duties are split between Pryor and freshman Ellen Hays with Hays leading the way with a 4.06 digs per set average. Pryor places second on the team with a 2.22 average.

All-Time Series
Butler holds a large 31-8 lead over Green Bay in the all-time series. These two programs are familiar with one another as the teams used to meet at least twice a year in Horizon League competition. The times have changed as Butler switched to the Atlantic 10 a year ago before making the move to the BIG EAST this season.

It was a clean sweep for Butler over Green Bay in 2011 as the Bulldogs claimed two victories over the Phoenix in the regular season followed by a 3-1 Horizon League Tournament win to increase their all-time series lead. Green Bay did split the season series in both 2009 and 2010.

The winner of Friday night's match between UT Martin and Butler will be the all-time series leader as the 7 p.m. contest marks the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

The Bulldogs hold a perfect 4-0 all-time record against the Toledo Rockets. The last meeting between the two teams happened back in 1998 as Butler claimed a 3-0 home win. The Bulldogs also swept the Rockets in 1997, 1990, and in the first-ever meeting during the 1988 season.

Butler Invitational
Butler posted a 2-1 record last weekend in the Butler Invitational which included a 3-2 comeback win over Illinois State and a 3-0 sweep over IPFW. The team's final match of the tournament was a 3-0 setback vs. No. 15 Michigan State.

BIG EAST Standings
1) DePaul, 9-0
2) Butler, 9-2
3) #23 Creighton, 7-2
4) Xavier, 7-3
5) St. John's, 8-4
6) Marquette, 5-3
7) Georgetown, 6-5
8) Villanova, 5-5
9) Seton Hall, 3-5

Randich Out for Season
Senior middle blocker Claire Randich will be sidelined for the rest of the season after tearing both her ACL and MCL in the home opener vs. IUPUI. Randich got off to a great start to the 2013 season as she was recognized as an All-Tournament Team selection in the Cincinnati Invitational. She recorded 26 kills, 14 blocks and five service aces before the injury occurred. 

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 228th, 1.13
Assists Per Set – 113th, 12.13
Blocks Per Set – 10th, 2.89
Digs Per Set – 33rd, 16.39
Hitting % - 85th, .236
Kills Per Set – 115th, 13.03
Winning % - 42nd, .818

Individual National Rankings
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 115th – 9.79
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 35th – 1.34
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 51st – 4.84
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 117th – 3.50
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 70th – 4.25

Double-Double Count
Belle Obert:
10 kills / 10 digs at Cincinnati
20 kills / 17 digs vs. IUPUI
14 kills / 11 digs vs. Eastern Kentucky

Morgan Peterson:
40 assists / 10 digs vs. Morehead State
24 assists / 15 digs vs. Tennessee
56 assists / 18 digs vs. IUPUI
49 assists / 18 digs vs. Illinois State

Mary Striedl:
10 kills / 10 digs vs. Morehead State
10 kills / 13 digs vs. IUPUI
17 kills / 20 digs vs. Illinois State

Season-High Marks Set at the Butler Invitational
- Brooke Ruffolo recorded 29 digs vs. Illinois State
- Morgan Peterson recorded eight kills and posted a .800 attack percentage vs. IPFW
- Maggie Harbison tallied seven kills vs. Michigan State
- Belle Obert recorded two service aces vs. Illinois State
- Kelly Kyle recorded 14 kills vs. Illinois State
- Mary Striedl tallied 17 kills and 20 digs vs. Illinois State

All-Tournament Team Selections
Cincinnati Invitational: Belle Obert (MVP), Morgan Peterson, Claire Randich
Arizona Classic: Belle Obert and Erica Stahl
Butler Invitational: Belle Obert and Brooke Ruffolo

Up Next
The Bulldogs have two more home matches coming up to end the month of September. BIG EAST opponent Xavier will visit Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday, Sept. 27 and Butler will step out of conference play for the last time this season with a home match vs. Marian on Saturday, Sept. 28.