November 14, 2013

Volleyball Ends Home Schedule vs. Georgetown and Villanova

Twitter - @ButlerVB

Weekend Schedule
Friday, Nov. 15
Georgetown at Butler – 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 16
Villanova at Butler – 2:30 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – A unique twist in the BIG EAST schedule will have Georgetown and Villanova playing at Hinkle Fieldhouse just one weekend after the teams hosted Butler at their respective home courts. The Bulldogs swept both teams on the road to improve to 8-4 in the BIG EAST Conference. Each match down the stretch will be very important as the top four teams in the standings make the conference tournament.

About Butler (21-6, 8-4 BIG EAST)
Butler continues to play a good brand of volleyball each weekend as the team sits in fourth place of the conference standings with a BIG EAST record of 8-4. The first BIG EAST team to reach 20 overall wins, Butler will host Georgetown and Villanova this weekend after posting wins against the teams last weekend.

The Bulldogs are 12-3 when playing at Hinkle Fieldhouse which includes a 4-2 record against conference opponents. A balanced offensive attack helps Butler pull out victories as six players have recorded over 100 kills on the season. Belle Obert, Erica Stahl, Stephanie Kranda and Mary Striedl are the main offensive weapons heading into the weekend as Obert leads all players with a team-high 316 kills. Stahl is second on the team with 190 kills and the duo of Kranda and Striedl are close behind with 185 and 181 respectively.

Obert and Striedl play as dual threats for head coach Sharon Clark as each player is near the team lead in digs with 197 and 255 respectively. Brooke Ruffolo leads the dig category for BU with 447 and setter Morgan Peterson also gets involved with 216 digs. Peterson is a do-it-all player that provides Butler with assists, kills, service aces and blocks. She has 174 points on the year with 124 kills, a team-high 918 assists, 16 service aces and 63 blocks.

Scouting Villanova (12-14, 4-9 BIG EAST)
Villanova lost all three home matches last weekend against Creighton, Butler and Xavier. The losing streak pushed the Wildcats near the bottom of the BIG EAST standings with just three matches remaining in the 2013 regular season.

Lauren Carpenter leads Villanova in kills with 353 on the season. Two other weapons for the Wildcats include Claire Crutchfield and Michaela Berendt who each have over 200 kills. Emma Pettit controls the Nova attack with a team-high 1032 assists and the sophomore also ranks second on the team with 28 service aces.

Mariah Henley is yet another impact player on the Villanova roster as she leads the team in digs (494) and service aces (37). Henley provides the unit with senior leadership as she has been on the court for all 26 matches throughout the season.

Match Recap at Villanova (Nov. 9)
Butler swept Villanova in the first meeting 25-7, 25-18, 25-17. The Bulldogs dominated the opening set to take control of the action as they maintained the fourth spot in the BIG EAST standings.

The trio of Maggie Harbison, Belle Obert and Erica Stahl led the Bulldogs offensively against Villanova recording 10, nine, and eight kills respectively. Harbison and Stahl were great up the middle as they each hit over .500 for the night. Morgan Peterson once again set up the action with a match-high 32 assists.

The defensive unit was also led by three players as Brooke Ruffolo, Kristen Webb, and Mary Striedl all reached a double figure dig count. Ruffolo and Webb shared the team lead with 12 while Striedl was close behind with 10.

The Bulldogs hit .376 as a team compared to .037 from the Wildcats. Team blocks also favored Butler as the 'Dogs sent back eight attacks compared to just two for Nova.

Scouting Georgetown (10-16, 4-9 BIG EAST)
The Hoyas took three-straight losses last weekend to move down in the BIG EAST standings. Xavier, Creighton and Butler swept through the Washington DC area to increase their lead as three of the top teams in the conference along with Marquette.

Lauren Saar leads the team with 330 kills on the year to go along with 343 digs and 36 blocks for 356 points. Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Danielle White is now Georgetown's point leader after a solid weekend of action. White has 282 kills and a team-high 105 blocks to post 362 points.

Caitlin Brauneis enters the weekend averaging 10 assists per set giving her a season total of 1030. She's also second on the team with 21 service aces and fourth in digs with 258.

Match Recap at Georgetown (Nov. 10)
Butler recorded a 3-0 win over Georgetown to improve to 21-6 overall (25-16, 25-20, 25-16). The Bulldogs moved to 8-4 in conference games with the sweep over the Hoyas. 

Morgan Peterson was a high impact player for Butler against Georgetown as she just missed recording a double-double with 32 assists and eight digs. Peterson added three kills, five blocks and a service ace to her stat line, ending the match with 7.5 points.

Two Bulldogs reached a double figure kill total as Stephanie Kranda and Belle Obert tied for the team lead, each with 10 kills. Obert was also close to a double-double as she added nine digs, while Kranda led the team with a .348 attack percentage.

Brooke Ruffolo and Erica Stahl led Butler from a defensive standpoint. Ruffolo made 22 digs from the back line while Stahl controlled the net with five blocks.

Mary Striedl and Maggie Harbison were also key contributors in the win over Georgetown as Harbison went off for eight kills and two service aces. Striedl was close behind with seven kills and one service ace.

All-Time Series
Butler holds the upper hand against each opponent this weekend with 2-0 lead over both Villanova and Georgetown in the all-time series. The 'Dogs beat Villanova 3-1 in the Oregon State Sizzler Classic during the 1995 season in the first meeting between the two programs and a recent 3-0 sweep last weekend moved the series to 2-0.

Butler's first win over Georgetown came in the first game of the Maryland Invitational in 2004 and the recent 3-0 sweep last weekend kept Butler perfect against the Hoyas at 2-0.

Senior Day
Saturday will be senior day for three student-athletes as Maggie Harbison, Morgan Peterson and Claire Randich take the court in Hinkle Fieldhouse for the last time. Harbison began her career at Butler during the 2010 season and quickly made an impact as she was named to the 2010 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. The Carmel, Ind. native continued to play at a high level as a sophomore as league coaches voted her onto the 2011 All-Horizon League Team.

Harbison was an impact player for Butler when the Bulldogs joined the A-10 conference during her junior season. The middle blocker continued to put up good numbers on a nightly basis against new opponents going for 296 kills, 218 digs, 77 blocks, and 29 service aces to post a career-high 366.5 points. As a senior Harbison has played in 69 sets, recording 152 kills and a team-high 29 service aces. She enters senior day with a career stat line of 891 kills, 718 digs, 353 blocks, and 122 service aces to post 1,204.5 points.

Harbison put her name in the Butler Volleyball record book after recording 11 block assists against Valparaiso in a four set match during the 2011 season, placing her in a tie for the second most block assists in a single match. Multiple efforts like the one against the Crusaders moved Harbison to eighth all-time in career block assists with 323. With four games left in the 2013 season, Harbison will also have an opportunity to jump in the top-ten of total blocks and service aces. Harbison currently ranks 26th nationally and is second in the BIG EAST with an aces per set average of 0.42.

Peterson transferred to Butler after spending two seasons at Middle Tennessee State. A starter for Butler in every match during her junior season, Peterson quickly became an impact player in the Butler lineup as she recorded 1018 assists, 124 kills, and 30 service aces as a junior. Peterson provides Butler with support in multiple areas as she recorded 279 digs and 101 blocks as a junior to post 206.5 points. Now as a senior, Peterson is once again leading the team in assists with 918. She has 124 kills, 216 digs, 63 blocks, and 16 service aces entering the weekend.

Peterson has eight double-doubles in 2013 which leads the team. She went off for a season-high 56 assists and 18 digs in a win over IUPUI. Her 49 assist and 18 dig stat line against Illinois State also helped the Bulldogs pull out a five-set victory over the Redbirds. Peterson earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors in early October by recording 95 assists, 21 kills, 13 digs, six blocks and two service aces in a 3-0 week. She currently ranks 126th nationally and eighth in the BIG EAST with an assists per set average of 9.87.

Randich came into her senior season as a team captain and was poised to lead the Bulldogs into the BIG EAST conference as an impact player. Unfortunately for Randich a season-ending knee injury occurred during the Butler home opener which limited her to just four matches. 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.

The middle blocker joined the Butler women's volleyball program in the fall of 2010 and quickly put her stamp on the team as she was named to the 2010 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. She played in 82 matches over her career which included 278 sets. Randich ends her career as a Bulldog with 511 kills, 279 blocks, 166 digs, and 50 service aces to post 708 points.

Randich put her mark on the Butler Volleyball record book with 11 block assists vs. Valparaiso, placing her in a tie for the second-most block assists in a single match at Butler. Randich sits in a tie for 10th all-time by posting a .692 attack percentage vs. Valpo and Chicago State during the 2010 season. Her attack percentage of .302 at the end of the year in 2010 landed her at fifth all-time for the highest percentage recorded in a single-season.

2013 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship
The 2013 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship will be conducted Nov. 29-30 in Omaha, Neb. The top four teams, based on regular-season conference records, will qualify for the event and will be seeded according to their finish in the league standings. The 32nd annual championship will be hosted by Creighton University at D.J. Sokol Arena. The champion receives the league's automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship.

DJ Sokol Arena (Omaha, Neb.)

Semifinals - Friday, Nov. 29

Match 1: No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed .................... 4 p.m. CT

Match 2: No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed ................6:30 p.m. CT

Finals - Saturday, Nov. 30

Match 3: Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner ....... 5 p.m. CT

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) Marquette, 11-1 BIG EAST, 19-5 Overall
2) Creighton, 9-3 BIG EAST, 18-6 Overall
3) Xavier, 9-3 BIG EAST, 18-9 Overall
4) Butler, 8-4 BIG EAST, 21-6 Overall
5) St. John's, 4-8 BIG EAST, 15-13 Overall
6) Seton Hall, 4-8 BIG EAST, 13-14 Overall
7) Villanova, 4-9 BIG EAST, 12-14 Overall
8) Georgetown, 4-9 BIG EAST, 10-16 Overall
9) DePaul, 2-10 BIG EAST, 16-10 Overall

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 77th, 1.38
Assists Per Set – 100th, 12.38
Blocks Per Set – 10th, 2.88
Digs Per Set – 45th, 16.22
Hitting % - 19th, .266
Kills Per Set – 77th, 13.45
Winning % - 33rd, .778

Individual National Rankings
Aces Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 26th – 0.42
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 126th – 9.87
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 22nd – 1.36
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 134th – 1.11
Blocks Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 166th – 1.07
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 52nd – 4.81
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 121st - .332
Hitting Percentage: Stephanie Kranda, 171st - .312
Hitting Percentage: Maggie Harbison, 173rd - .311
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 153rd – 3.33
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 83rd – 4.17

NCAA Volleyball RPI
Butler moved to 40th 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. 11 and Creighton atop the league at No. 10.

BIG EAST Player of the Week Honors
Morgan Peterson – 10/7
Peterson helped the Bulldogs post a 3-0 record during the week with wins over No. 22 Creighton, St. John's and Seton Hall. The senior evenly distributed the ball with a team-high 95 assists, but she also contributed with 21 kills, 13 digs, six blocks and two service aces during the week.

Erica Stahl – 10/29
Stahl helped Butler record two conference wins to end the month of October by recording two double-double performances in wins over Seton Hall and St. John's. For the week, Stahl recorded 22 kills and 22 blocks while hitting at a .381 clip.

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)
46 assists / 11 digs vs. Marquette (11/1)

Erica Stahl:
12 kills / 11 blocks at Seton Hall (10/25)
10 kills / 11 blocks at St. John's (10/26)

Mary Striedl:
10 kills / 10 digs vs. Morehead State
10 kills / 13 digs vs. IUPUI
17 kills / 20 digs vs. Illinois State
11 kills / 22 digs at St. John's (10/26)

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

Up Next
The regular season will come to a close next weekend with a pair of road matches at DePaul and Marquette. Butler will face DePaul on Friday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. The regular season finale will follow on Saturday as Butler takes on the Golden Eagles Saturday at 8 p.m.