Volleyball Continues Road Trip to End October

Maggie Harbison

Twitter - @ButlerVB

Weekend Schedule
Friday, Oct. 25
Butler at Seton Hall – 4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 26
Butler at St. John's – 7 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Bulldogs will try to sweep the season series against Seton Hall and St. John's this weekend with a pair of road matches. Butler will face the Pirates on Friday afternoon and finish the weekend with a 7 p.m. match against the Red Storm.

About Butler (16-5, 3-3 BIG EAST)
The Bulldogs will try to improve their 1-3 road record this weekend with a pair of matches on the East Coast. The team is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season taking a 3-2 loss at Xavier on Oct. 11 and recently dropping a four-set match 3-1 at Creighton. Butler will end this road trip and host Marquette and DePaul next weekend at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs send a balanced rotation to the floor on a nightly basis as the team has seven players over or climbing towards 100 kills on the season. Junior outside hitter Belle Obert leads the team with 245, averaging 3.36 kills per set. Erica Stahl and Mary Striedl are each over 130 kills on the year and Stephanie Kranda has been very effective during BIG EAST matches with 124 kills this season.

Senior Morgan Peterson sets up the balanced attack as she leads the team with 672 assists. Peterson has impacted the team on many levels this season as she also has 172 digs, 98 kills, 45 blocks and 10 service aces.

Brooke Ruffolo is the team leader in digs with 337 and Stahl leads all players with 95 blocks. The Bulldogs have dominated opponents at the net this season recording 213 blocks compared to just 106 from opponents. Stahl, Obert and Maggie Harbison lead the team in the category, but Striedl, Kranda, and Peterson also give Butler the edge having over 30 blocks each.

Scouting Seton Hall (11-10, 3-4 BIG EAST)
The Pirates are now over .500 this season after defeating Stony Brook 3-0 on Tuesday night. Seton Hall has won four-straight, including six of their last seven. The four-match winning streak began on Oct. 16 with a non-conference win at Long Island. A tight 3-2 win over Georgetown in Washington D.C. followed on Friday as Seton Hall recorded their first BIG EAST road win of the season. The team extended the streak with another conference win as they took down Villanova on the road 3-1.

Seton Hall is second in the BIG EAST in digs per set with a team average of 16.49. Alyssa Warren leads the club with 416 on the year, but the Pirates have three additional players that have over 200 digs this season. Warren leads the team from the back row defensively and Ashani Rubin controls the net as her 105 blocks leads the team.

Offensively, Amanda Hansen and Stacey Manthorpe each have over 200 kills for the Pirates. Hansen also contributes with a team-high 13 service aces and 84 blocks. Stacey's sister, Shelbey Manthorpe sets up the Seton Hall offense as she leads the team with 729 assists.

The Pirates are battled tested as nine of their 21 matches this season have gone the distance to all five sets. The team is 5-4 in five set matches, 1-3 in four sets and 5-3 in three sets. Seton Hall opponents tend to serve more aggressively than the Pirates as the team trails head-to-head in service aces 115-52.

Scouting St. John's (14-9, 3-4 BIG EAST)
The Red Strom improved their overall record to 14-9 with a 3-0 sweep over Georgetown on Oct. 19. Karin Palgutova recorded her ninth double-double of the season against the Hoyas with 18 kills and 11 digs. Palgutova leads the BIG EAST and is 19th in the NCAA with a kills per set average of 4.47. She is also the league leader in points per set at 5.07. Teammate Aleksandra Wachowicz is third in the BIG EAST at 3.84 kills per set and ranks third in points per set at 4.49.

St. John's will face Xavier on Friday night before hosting Butler on Saturday. The Musketeers defeated the Red Storm in the first matchup 3-1. The match was played one day after Butler defeated St. John's at Hinkle Fieldhouse by the final score of 3-0.

St. John's is near the top of the conference in aces per set (1.37) and blocks per set (2.61). Three student-athletes have over 20 service aces for St. John's as Wachowicz leads the team with 28. Palgutova adds 24 to the season total and Shawna-Lei Santos is third on the team with 21.

The top blockers on the team are Amy Zimmer and Ashley Boursiquot. Each player has over 80 blocks on the season, but the Red Storm has depth in that category with four other players each recording over 40 blocks.

Deniz Mutlugil sets up the offensive attack with a team-high 860 assists and Santos leads the defensive unit with 398 digs.

Last Meeting vs. Seton Hall
Butler recorded a 3-0 victory over Seton Hall (25-13, 25-16, 25-17) on Oct. 6. High attack percentages guided the Bulldogs to victory as they hit .406, .350, and .182 to defeat the Pirates.

Morgan Peterson and Maggie Harbison posted the highest attack percentages on the team at .500 and .357. Peterson and Harbison each ended the match with seven kills while Belle Obert led the team with nine.

Stephanie Kranda was yet another impact player against Seton Hall as she tallied eight kills. Mary Striedl almost recorded a double-double as she posted 12 digs and seven kills in the contest. The Bulldogs were led by Brooke Ruffolo in the dig category as she recorded a match-high 21.

Last Meeting vs. St. John's
Butler swept St. John's 3-0 in the first meeting 25-12, 25-9, 25-13. Belle Obert led the team with nine kills and Stephanie Kranda impacted the match with seven. The entire team hit the ball well as the Bulldogs posted attack percentages of .476, .448, and .632.

Morgan Peterson led the team with 20 assists and the combination of Mary Striedl and Brooke Ruffolo worked well together defensively posting 19 digs combined.

All-Time Series
Butler now holds a 1-0 lead in the all-time series over each opponent this weekend as the first matchup earlier this season doubled as the first-ever matchup between the programs.

On the Attack
The Bulldogs posted the second highest hitting percentage in school history against St. John's on Oct. 5 going off for 40 kills in just 69 attempts to post a .507 attack percentage. The team only committed five hitting errors as they swept the Red Strom 3-0.

BIG EAST Standings
1) Creighton, 5-1 BIG EAST, 14-4 Overall
2) Marquette, 4-1 BIG EAST, 12-5 Overall
3) Xavier, 4-2 BIG EAST, 12-8 Overall
4) Butler, 3-3 BIG EAST, 16-5 Overall
5) St. John's, 3-4 BIG EAST, 14-9 Overall
6) Villanova, 3-4 BIG EAST, 11-9 Overall
7) Seton Hall, 3-4 BIG EAST, 10-10 Overall
8) Georgetown, 2-5 BIG EAST, 8-12 Overall
9) DePaul, 1-4 BIG EAST, 15-4 Overall

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 106th, 1.32
Assists Per Set – 130th, 12.05
Blocks Per Set – 5th, 2.92
Digs Per Set – 41st, 16.10
Hitting % - 41st, .253
Kills Per Set – 116th, 13.04
Winning % - 42nd, .762

Individual National Rankings
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 153rd – 9.46
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 38th – 1.30
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 112th – 1.12
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 51st – 4.75
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 138th - .327
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 145th – 3.36
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 71st – 4.21

NCAA Volleyball RPI
Butler is listed 49th in the most recent NCAA women's volleyball RPI poll. The BIG EAST has two teams listed in the top 25 with Marquette coming in at No. 16 and Creighton atop the league at No. 5.

Double-Double Count
Belle Obert:
10 kills / 10 digs at Cincinnati
20 kills / 17 digs vs. IUPUI
14 kills / 11 digs vs. Eastern Kentucky
10 kills / 21 digs at Xavier (10/11)
13 kills / 12 digs at Creighton (10/20)

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 (9/27)
48 assists / 15 digs at Xavier (10/11)

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 Creighton (10/20)
- Brooke Ruffolo recorded four total attempts.
- Natalie Wichern recorded three service aces.

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
The Bulldogs will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Nov. 1 with a 7 p.m. match vs. Marquette. The weekend will come to a close with a 7 p.m. match vs. DePaul on Saturday, Nov. 2. The match against the Golden Eagles marks a change as BIG EAST season schedule flips allowing Butler to prepare for upcoming matches at Villanova and Georgetown.