October 3, 2013

Volleyball to Host Pink Weekend

Twitter - @ButlerVB

Weekend Schedule
Friday, Oct. 4
Butler vs. Creighton – 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 5
Butler vs. St. John's – 4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 6
Butler vs. Seton Hall – 3 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler volleyball program will host three BIG EAST opponents this weekend inside Hinkle Fieldhouse. Creighton, St. John's and Seton Hall will all visit Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time as the Bulldogs search for their first conference win of the year.

About Butler (13-3, 0-1 BIG EAST)
The Bulldogs split a pair of matches last weekend with a 3-1 loss to Xavier followed by a 3-0 sweep over Marian. The setback to the Musketeers snapped a three-match winning streak as the Bulldogs swept the competition in the Butler Classic (Sept 20-21).

Butler has played a majority of their matches at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but that scenario will change after this weekend as Bulldogs hit the road for the remainder of October. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to all three games this weekend as the team will be decked out in pink jerseys to recognize breast cancer awareness month.

Despite battling a number of obstacles early in the season, Butler is 13-3 overall which includes an 8-2 home record. Aside from the Xavier match last Friday night, Butler's only other home loss came to nationally-ranked Michigan State on Sept. 14. The team has been successful without the help of senior leader Claire Randich who suffered a season-ending injury in the home opener against IUPUI. Fellow senior Maggie Harbison is back in the starting lineup after missing time with a finger injury and the most recent Bulldog to miss playing time was outside hitter Kelly Kyle who missed both matches last weekend with an illness.

Head Coach Sharon Clark has made the necessary adjustments to keep Butler competitive in every match. Belle Obert has been consistent for the Bulldogs throughout the season leading the team in kills (194) and service aces (13) to generate 241.5 points. Obert is a well-rounded player that also impacts the team with 105 digs and 60 blocks.

Erica Stahl and Mary Striedl are two other Bulldogs that keep the offense clicking. Stahl is second on the team with 103 kills and she controls the net defensively with a team-high 71 blocks. Striedl is third on the team with 96 kills and second on the squad with 146 digs. The team's dig leader is junior Brooke Ruffolo (242) and the assist leader is senior Morgan Peterson.

Scouting #22 Creighton (9-3, 0-0 BIG EAST)
The Jays took last weekend off to prepare for their BIG EAST opener against Butler. The team has earned the No. 22 ranking in the AVCA Coaches poll by playing a tough non-conference schedule which includes matches vs. No. 13 BYU, No. 11 UCLA and No. 7 Hawaii. Creighton defeated BYU 3-1 in the season opener, but took a 3-1 loss to UCLA at the Denver Invite and a 3-2 setback to Hawaii at the Shocker Volleyball Classic. The team's only loss to a non-ranked team came on Sept. 7 with a 3-0 loss to California, a team who is now receiving votes to make the top-25.

Controlling the net will be a key factor on Friday night as the Jays lead the BIG EAST and are third in the nation in blocks per set with a 3.04 average. Kelli Browning leads the team and is third in the country with a 1.60 average. Browning is one of five players that will attack the Bulldogs as Creighton uses multiple looks offensively. Leah McNary leads the team in kills with 140 (3.11 per set) and Lauren Smith is also over the century mark with 103. Smith makes the most of her opportunities as she ranks second in the BIG EAST with a .384 hitting percentage.

Michelle Sicner sets up the Creighton hitters as she leads the team with 459 assists. The junior setter can impact the match in many ways as she also has 113 digs, 59 kills and 41 blocks.

Scouting St. John's (12-5, 1-0 BIG EAST)
The Red Storm will start the month of October with two road matches playing at Butler on Saturday Oct. 5 and ending the weekend with a game at Xavier on Sunday. The team is 8-2 in their last 10 matches which includes a 3-2 win over Seton Hall in the BIG EAST opener.

Karin Palgutova is a weapon offensively for St. John's as she leads the conference and is 16th in the NCAA with a kills per set average of 4.48. Palgutova and Aleksandra Wachowicz will each have to be accounted for as the duo has over 450 combined kills. Palgutova leads the club with 260 and Wachowicz recently climbed over the 200 kill mark with 18 against the Pirates.

Deniz Mutlugil sets up the action for St. John's with a team-high 604 assists and Shawna-Lei Santos leads the club in digs with 272.

Scouting Seton Hall (5-7, 0-1 BIG EAST)
The Pirates will face Xavier on Friday before visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sunday. A 3-2 setback to St. John's in the BIG EAST opener put the team at 5-7 overall, but the Pirates have a set of sisters that have the team moving in the right direction.

Shelbey Manthorpe leads the team in assists with 423 and Stacy Manthorpe is second on the team in kills with 106. Each player has over 130 digs and 20 blocks, making them key pieces to the Seton Hall rotation.

The team kill leader is Amanda Hansen who enters the weekend with 121 (2.33 per set). Alyssa Warren paces the defensive unit with a team-high 238 digs and Ashani Rubin is the team blocks leader with 60 (1.15 per set).

All-Time Series
Butler has never faced Creighton, St. John's or Seton Hall in women's volleyball making this exciting weekend even more unique and fun.

BIG EAST Standings
1) St. John's, 1-0 BIG EAST, 12-5 Overall
2) Marquette, 1-0 BIG EAST, 8-4 Overall
3) Villanova, 1-0 BIG EAST, 9-5 Overall
4) Xavier, 1-0 BIG EAST, 8-6 Overall
5) #22 Creighton, 0-0 BIG EAST, 9-3 Overall
6) DePaul, 0-1 BIG EAST, 13-1 Overall
7) Butler, 0-1 BIG EAST, 13-3 Overall
8) Georgetown, 0-1 BIG EAST, 6-8 Overall
9) Seton Hall, 0-1 BIG EAST, 5-7 Overall

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 119th, 1.33
Assists Per Set – 115th, 12.15
Blocks Per Set – 7th, 2.91
Digs Per Set – 45th, 15.96
Hitting % - 40th, .258
Kills Per Set – 116th, 13.06
Winning % - 33rd, .813

Individual National Rankings
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 144th – 9.52
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 34th – 1.31
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 131st – 1.11
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 60th – 4.65
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 98th - .350
Hitting Percentage: Stephanie Kranda, 116th - .340
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 95th – 3.59
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 45th – 4.47

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
34 assists / 12 digs vs. Toledo
41 assists / 12 digs vs. Xavier

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 vs. Xavier
- Stephanie Kranda tallied 12 kills and scored 15 points.
- Maggie Harbison recorded seven blocks.

Season-High Marks Set vs. Marian
- Jadyn Yarling recorded 11 digs.
- Natalie Wichern recorded 26 assists, seven kills and six digs.
- Belle Obert posted a .591 attack percentage.
- Natalie Meert recorded four digs.

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
Butler Classic: Morgan Peterson (MVP), Belle Obert, Erica Stahl

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. 

Up Next
Butler's 12 match home streak will come to an end as they finish the month of October with four road BIG EAST matchups. The Bulldogs start the road trip on Friday Oct. 11 with a match at Xavier and then travel to Creighton to face the Jays on Oct. 20. The end of the month features Butler playing at Seton Hall on Oct. 25 and at St. John's on Oct. 26.