Regular Season Finale on Deck for Butler Volleyball

Twitter - @ButlerVB

Weekend Schedule
Friday, Nov. 22
Butler at DePaul – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23
Butler at Marquette – 8:00 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – The 2013 volleyball regular season will come to a close this weekend as the Bulldogs end the BIG EAST schedule with matches at DePaul and Marquette. Both Butler and Marquette will be in the BIG EAST Tournament next weekend along with Xavier and Creighton. The tournament teams are locked but the seeds will not be set until the final regular season match.

About Butler (23-6, 10-4 BIG EAST)
Butler currently sits in third place of the BIG EAST standings with a 10-4 record. Joining the Bulldogs with a 10-4 mark in conference action are the Creighton Bluejays. The second place spot in the standings belongs to Xavier at 11-3. The Musketeers swept Butler this season and therefore would hold the tiebreaker over BU. The 'Dogs will try to upend the top team in the standings Saturday night with a rematch against the Golden Eagles.

The Bulldogs recently took care of home court advantage by recording wins over Villanova and Georgetown. The team is on an impressive five-match winning streak, having not lost a set since taking a 3-1 setback to Marquette on Nov. 1. The Bulldogs end the year with a 6-2 conference record at Hinkle Fieldhouse and they now have the opportunity to match that mark with two matches remaining.

If Butler is able to sweep their weekend opponents they will have to get solid performances out of Belle Obert, Morgan Peterson and Erica Stahl. Obert leads the team in kills with 341 and she also contributes 211 digs, 109 blocks and 22 service aces to BU. Peterson is another all-around player in the lineup as she leads the club with 980 assists. The senior makes plays all over the court as she also has 136 kills, 239 digs, 66 blocks and 17 service aces.

Stahl is a big reason as to why the Bulldogs have been nationally ranked in blocks throughout the season. The Preseason All-BIG EAST selection leads the team with 135 total blocks. She has 200 kills on the year to post 275 points.

Scouting DePaul (16-12, 2-12 BIG EAST)
DePaul won 14-straight matches to start the season, but BIG EAST opponents put a screeching halt to that winning streak as the Blue Demons enter the final weekend of the season at 16-12 overall. DePaul swept Georgetown on Oct. 5 to record their first conference win of the year and a 3-2 home win over St. John's moved their league record to 2-12.

Vesela Zapryanova and Abbie Fleener lead the offensive attack for DePaul as each student-athlete has recorded over 300 kills on the year. Fleener hits at a .291 clip and also provides the team with 51 blocks. Zapryanova is at 337 kills on the year with 243 digs, 43 blocks, 24 assists and a team-high 33 service aces.

DePaul's block leader is Natalie Rizzo who will look to break the century mark with two matches remaining. Her 99 blocks, 94 digs, 25 service aces and 223 kills keeps her in the Blue Demon lineup on a nightly basis.

Allyson Rooks leads DePaul in digs with 410 and the team's assist leader is Colleen Smith who has set up a teammate 1,019 times.

Match Recap vs. DePaul (Nov. 2)
Butler recorded a 3-0 victory over DePaul in the first meeting 25-22, 25-17, 25-11. Morgan Peterson posted 40 assists, five digs, three kills, one block and one service ace against the Blue Demons to help Butler defeat DePaul in straight sets. She set up the offensive evenly as the team ended the night with a .377 attack percentage.

Stephanie Kranda, Maggie Harbison and Belle Obert all recorded a double figure kill total as Kranda led the team with 11, hitting at a .360 clip. Harbison and Obert served the ball extremely well posting nine combined aces. Harbison led the team with five and Obert did her part with four.

The defensive effort was once again led by Brooke Ruffolo who recorded 17 digs against the Blue Demons. Harbison played good defense at the net as she led the team with three blocks.

Scouting Marquette (21-5, 13-1 BIG EAST)
The Golden Eagles are nearly perfect in BIG EAST competition, posting a 13-1 record against conference foes. Creighton swept Marquette 3-0 on Oct. 13 to end a six-match winning streak and blemish the perfect conference season. The Eagles have responded by winning 10-straight heading into the weekend. Close calls for Marquette in conference games came against DePaul and Seton Hall. Each time Marquette played on the road and in each match they came out with a 3-2 victory.

The Golden Eagles host a pair of influential matches this weekend as the Musketeers invade Milwaukee on Friday night. Marquette defeated Xavier 3-1 back on Nov. 2 after taking down Butler 3-1 the night before. The team also got revenge on Creighton by sweeping in the Bluejays in the second meeting of the season.

Freshman Autumn Bailey is approaching 400 kills on the year while hitting at a .282 clip. She is averaging 4.19 kills per set and is second on the team with 31 service aces. Marquette has a handful of players that serve extremely aggressive as they enter the weekend with 123 team aces. Lindsey Gosh is the team leader with 47.

Julie Jeziorowski paces the defense with a team-high 432 digs and Meghan Niemann protects the net with 74 blocks. Elizabeth Koberstein sets up the attack with a team-high 1,114 assists.

Match Recap vs. Marquette (Nov. 1)
Marquette fought off Butler in a highly competitive BIG EAST matchup by the final score of 3-1 (24-26, 28-30, 27-25, 23-25). The entertaining match featured 35 ties and 12 lead changes. The intensity of the match between Marquette and Butler was at an all-time high. Neither team was able to build a comfortable lead at any moment during the match which kept the atmosphere tense.

Mary Striedl led Butler with 14 kills and eight digs against the Golden Eagles while Stephanie Kranda and Maggie Harbison also reached a double figure kill total. The Bulldogs hit .288 as a team and recorded seven blocks, but it wasn't enough as Marquette posted an attack percentage of .339.

Nele Barber and Autumn Bailey led Marquette to victory by posting 23 and 22 kills respectively. Barber hit .392 and Bailey posted a .400 attack percentage.

Morgan Peterson recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 46 assists and 11 digs. The senior also chipped in with six kills, two service aces and two blocks. Other Bulldogs to impact the match included Brooke Ruffolo who led the team with 16 digs and Belle Obert who ended the night with 12 digs, nine kills and four blocks.

All-Time Series
Butler leads Marquette in the all-time series, entering the weekend with a 6-2 advantage. The Golden Eagles have won the last two meetings earning two 3-1 victories. The first meeting between Butler and Marquette was played back during the 1987 season as Butler opened the series with a 1-0 lead after defeating the Golden Eagles at the DePaul Invitational 3-1.

Butler's latest win over DePaul gave the Bulldogs a 9-7 edge in the all-time series. Winners of two straight, Butler broke a 7-7 series tie with a 3-2 victory over DePaul last year. The first-ever meeting between these two programs was played during the1983 season. The Bulldogs pulled out a 3-2 victory in the five-set match.

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, 13-1 BIG EAST, 21-5 Overall
2) *Xavier, 11-3 BIG EAST, 20-9 Overall
3) *Butler, 10-4 BIG EAST, 23-6 Overall
4) *Creighton, 10-4 BIG EAST, 19-7 Overall
5) Seton Hall, 6-9 BIG EAST, 15-15 Overall
6) St. John's, 5-10 BIG EAST, 16-15 Overall
7) Villanova, 4-11 BIG EAST, 12-16 Overall
8) Georgetown, 4-11 BIG EAST, 10-18 Overall
9) DePaul, 2-12 BIG EAST, 16-12 Overall
* - Denotes Clinched BIG EAST Tournament Berth

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 80th, 1.36
Assists Per Set – 89th, 12.50
Blocks Per Set – 6th, 2.91
Digs Per Set – 54th, 16.18
Hitting % - 21st, .267
Kills Per Set – 64th, 13.60
Winning % - 27th, .793

Individual National Rankings
Aces Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 48th – 0.39
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 129th – 9.90
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 29th – 1.34
Blocks Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 95th – 1.16
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 153rd – 1.08
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 63rd – 4.73
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 118th - .332
Hitting Percentage: Stephanie Kranda, 162nd - .315
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 144th – 3.38
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 76th – 4.21

NCAA Volleyball RPI
Butler moved up to 36th 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. 13 and Creighton atop the league at No. 12.

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)
33 assists / 14 digs vs. Georgetown (11/15)

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 2013 BIG EAST Conference Tournament is up next for the Bulldogs. Marquette, Xavier and Creighton will join Butler as the four finalists, but the tournament seeds are still undetermined.