September 11, 2007

Bulldogs Open League Slate At Home Against Youngstown State, Cleveland State

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The Week Ahead: The Bulldogs kick off the Horizon League schedule at home this weekend when they welcome Youngstown State to town on Friday (Sept. 14) at 7:00 p.m. Butler then hosts Cleveland State on Saturday (Sept. 15) in a 4:00 p.m. match at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler Volleyball On The Web: All Butler matches this weekend can be viewed live online via Gametracker by clicking the link next to the match on the schedule at the bottom of the main page of www.ButlerSports.com. The matches can also be viewed through live video courtesy of the Horizon League Network by clicking on the "Watch" links on the volleyball schedule.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler will take a 5-5 overall record and a three-match winning streak into the conference season opener on Sept. 14 after taking home the West Virginia Volleyball Classic title over the weekend. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the Horizon League this season, ranking second with a .166 opponent hitting percentage and with 18.83 digs per game while touting 2.29 blocks per game for the third-highest rate. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks third in the league with 4.15 kills per game and boasts a team-best .235 attack percentage. Freshman outside hitter Jessica Wolfe has averaged 3.33 kills and 2.94 digs per game, while senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter boasts 3.17 kills, 2.00 digs and a team-high 1.17 blocks per game. Freshman outside hitter Katie Daprile has been an all-around threat in her first year, averaging 1.78 kills, 1.08 assists, 3.19 digs and 0.53 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile has received the bulk of the playing time at setter, dishing a team-high 6.80 assists per game, while sophomore Brittany Awai has added 4.06 per game. Junior libero Nina Inic paces the team and ranks third in the league with 5.22 digs per contest.

DeGeeter Earns Butler's First Weekly Honor: After putting together a dominant showing in helping the Bulldogs to the West Virginia Volleyball Classic title last weekend, senior Michelle DeGeeter was named the Horizon League's Offensive Player of the Week. DeGeeter earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors after averaging 4.67 kills and 2.56 digs per game in helping the Bulldogs sweep past East Tennessee State, West Virginia and Indiana State. After opening the tournament with a team-high 15 kills against the Buccaneers, she tallied 12 against the Mountaineers before adding a team-best 15 against the Sycamores.

Recapping Last Week:
Sept. 7 - Butler 3, East Tennessee State 0
Dana Daprile, Michelle DeGeeter and Jessica Wolfe all hit above .400 in the match and the Bulldogs cruised to a 30-19, 32-30, 30-25 victory over East Tennessee State in their first match at the WVU Volleyball Classic. The Bulldogs finished with a season-high .243 attack percentage thanks in large part to the superb play of the hard-hitting trio while holding the Buccaneers to a team .128 percentage.

Sept. 8 - Butler 3, West Virginia 0
The Bulldogs registered 53 kills against the Mountaineers while holding the host team to only 33 in claiming a 30-28, 30-23, 30-22 decision at the WVU Coliseum in the first match of the day. Butler consistently hit above .200 in all three games, including a match-high .283 in the opener, while holding WVU to a miniscule .093 and .031 in the final two games, respectively. Porshia Allen paced the team with 16 kills while Jessica Wolfe hit .333 (12-3-27) and added 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the year.

Sept. 8 - Butler 3, Indiana State 0
Butler made quick work of Indiana State in the final match of the WVU Volleyball Classic, holding the in-state rival Sycamores to a meager .057 attack percentage in cruising to a 30-24, 30-24, 30-16 thumping. ISU combined for just 31 kills in the match, a season low for a Bulldog opponent, while hitting just .044 and .026 in the first and third games. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, received plenty of offense from Michelle DeGeeter, who finished with a match-high 15 kills and added 11 digs for her third double-double of the year.

All-Tournament Honors: In addition to Michelle DeGeeter's MVP performance in the WVU Volleyball Classic, sophomore Porshia Allen and freshman Jessica Wolfe earned spots on the All-Tournament Team. Allen and Wolfe each averaged 3.67 kills per game on the weekend.

We're Going Streaking: The Bulldogs' current three-match winning streak is the longest for the team since the start of the 2006 campaign, when Butler claimed wins over Marian, Chicago State and Kennesaw State. It is also the first time since the opening three-matches of the 2005 season that Butler has won three-straight 3-0 matches. The last time the Bulldogs won four consecutive 3-0 decisions was in 1997 when Butler closed the regular season with a pair of sweeps before cruising past UIC and Loyola in the league championship to advance to the NCAA Tournament. That finish, however, paled in comparison to the start, as Butler opened the 1997 season with a school-record nine-straight 3-0 wins.

The Best Offense Is A Great Defense: Butler certainly took that idea to heart in claiming nine-straight games at the WVU Volleyball Classic on Sept. 7-8. The three opponents were held to a miniscule 0.99 attack percentage over the weekend, with each team having progressively less success as the tournament went on. After holding East Tennessee State to just .128 in the opening match, Butler held West Virginia to just .114 in the second before slamming the door on Indiana State to the tune of a .057 average. The Bulldogs' .166 opponent average on the year ranks second in the Horizon League.

Off To A Great Start: Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen has been nearly unstoppable on offense to start the season, leading the team and ranking third in the Horizon League with 4.15 kills per game. In fact, the Indianapolis native is way ahead of her 2006 team-leading pace with 141 kills through just 10 matches, which is 44 more than she had at the same point a year ago.

A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: It didn't take long for freshman Jessica Wolfe to get comfortable in the collegiate game. The 6-0 Plainfield, Ind. native paced the team with 18 kills in her first college match against Jacksonville on Aug. 24 in helping the Bulldogs to their first win of the season. She followed up that performance with back-to-back double-doubles against Hofstra and Miami on Aug. 25, including another 18-kill performance against the Pride. She currently ranks second on the team and 10th in the league with 3.33 kills per game and third on the squad with 2.89 digs per game.

Digging The Record Book: With her 30 digs against Jacksonville on Aug. 24, junior Nina Inic etched her name into the Butler record book, tying for the ninth-most in a single match. This is nothing new to the Belgrade, Serbia native, however, as Inic essentially re-wrote the single-match records for digs last season. Three of the top eight single-match marks in Butler history were registered by the defensive specialist in 2006, including a career-high 40 digs against Green Bay for the third-highest total all-time. Meanwhile, her 35 digs at Green Bay rank sixth-most, while her 32 against Loyola are eighth-most.

Double Trouble: The rest of the Horizon League already had their hands full trying to contain one Daprile, and now they have twice as much to contend with. Older sister Dana leads the squad with 6.80 assists per game as the team's primary setter and is fourth on the team in blocks per game (0.66). Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, has already made an impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second in digs per game (3.19), third in assists (1.08) and fourth in kills (1.78).

Home Sweet Home: After criss-crossing the Midwest for much of October, the Bulldogs will spend the final three weeks of the season playing in the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse. Following a three-week, six-match road trip that takes the Bulldogs through Chicago, Dayton, Cleveland, Youngstown and Valparaiso, Butler returns home on Oct. 21 to host non-conference foe UMKC. From there, the Bulldogs welcome Wright State (Oct. 26), UIC (Nov. 2) and Loyola (Nov. 3) to Indianapolis before closing the regular season the following weekend by hosting Green Bay (Nov. 9) and Milwaukee (Nov. 10).

Up Next: Butler continues Horizon League play next weekend in Wisconsin as the Bulldogs head to Milwaukee for an 8:00 p.m. ET match with the Panthers on Sept. 21. Butler then heads north to Green Bay on Sept. 22 when it takes on the Phoenix beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET.