September 18, 2007

Volleyball Continues League Slate In Wisconsin This Weekend

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The Week Ahead: Butler begins its two-match trek through Wisconsin this Friday (Sept. 21) when it takes on Milwaukee beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time at the Klotsche Center. The Bulldogs then continue north to Green Bay for a 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time showdown with the Phoenix at the Kress Center.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler takes a 6-6 overall record and a 1-1 Horizon League slate into its weekend matches against Milwaukee and Green Bay. The Bulldogs, tied for third in the league standings, have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking second with 18.91 digs per game and third with 2.34 blocks per game and a .163 opponent hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks fourth in the league with 3.77 kills per game. Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter leads the team and is fourth in the league with 1.18 blocks per game while averaging 3.33 kills and 2.29 digs per contest. Butler has received significant support on both offense and defense from a pair of freshman outside hitters Jessica Wolfe and Katie Daprile. Wolfe is second on the team and eighth in the conference with 3.47 kills per game and has added 2.89 digs per game, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 1.78 kills, 1.08 assists, 3.19 digs and 0.53 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile is the team's primary setter and ranks eighth in the conference with 7.75 assists per game, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team and ranks third in the league with 5.27 digs per contest.

Recapping Last Week:
Sept. 14 - Butler 3, Youngstown State 2
Jessica Wolfe sizzled on offense to the tune of 29 kills while three other Butler players finished in double figures in helping the Bulldogs stave off a relentless Youngstown State attack for a 34-36, 31-29, 26-30, 30-25, 15-10 decision in the Horizon League opener. The two squads dueled for over two-and-a-half hours, with the five-game match featuring 44 ties and 19 lead changes. Wolfe finished with a career-best 29 kills and added 14 kills for her fifth double-double of the year. Michelle DeGeeter added season-highs with 19 kills and 20 digs for her fourth double-double of the season, while Katie Daprile notched second double-double of the year with 12 kills and 16 digs. Dana Daprile topped her career-high with 59 assists and fell just one dig shy of tallying the Bulldogs' fourth double-double of the night.

Sept. 15 - Cleveland State 3, Butler 1
Michelle DeGeeter registered a match-high 17 kills en route to her fifth double-double of the year, but visiting Cleveland State took advantage of several costly errors by the Bulldogs in handing Butler a 30-23, 27-30, 30-27, 30-24 defeat. DeGeeter finished the night with 17 kills and 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the season, while Jalesa Lee led the squad with a .308 attack percentage. Porshia Allen also finished with double-figure kills (10) and digs (11), while Katie Daprile chipped in 14 kills. Butler errors would prove costly, however, as the Bulldogs totaled 13 service miscues and seven reception errors.

Keep Feeding The Wolfe: Jessica Wolfe has already proven to be one of the top newcomers in the Horizon League so far this season, ranking among the league leaders in kills with 3.47 per game, but she has also made her mark in Butler's record book as well. The Plainfield, Ind. native's 29 kills against Youngstown State are not only a single-match high for the Bulldogs this season but are also tied for the sixth-best total in school history. Kali Carter set the school-record with 32 kills against Western Illinois on Sept. 10, 2004.

Digging The Record Book: Junior libero Nina Inic has made a habit out of re-writing the Butler record book. So far this season, she has twice added her name among the single-match record totals for digs, tallying 30 in the season-opener against Jacksonville to tie for 10th all-time before recording 35 against Youngstown State to match the mark for sixth-place. Inic also holds the third-place total (40) and the ninth-place total (32), which were both set in 2006.

Can I Lend You A Hand?: The Bulldogs received a lot of help in their grueling five-game win over Youngstown State on Sept. 14, as the team combined for a Horizon League season-high 77 assists in the match. Junior setter Dana Daprile was the main culprit on the night, dishing a career-best 59 assists in the match for the fifth-highest individual total in the league this year.

What Sophomore Slump?: Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen had a lot to live up to entering the 2007 season after leading the team with 315 kills and earning a spot on the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team as a freshman in 2006. The Indianapolis native has not disappointed, as she is already more than halfway to her freshman total with 162 after just 12 matches. Allen leads the team and is fourth in the league with 3.77 kills per game.

DeGeeter Meter: Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter has been one of the best all-around performers during her tenure with the Bulldogs, but her blocking ability has her on the verge of being ranked among the best in the program's history. DeGeeter enters this weekend's competition with 316 total blocks, including 53 this season, and needs just six more to pass Stephanie Wesley (321) for the 10th-most all-time. She already ranks 10th in career block assists with 276 and is 17 shy of Candice Washington's ninth-place mark of 292.

The Double-Double Club: Four Butler players have registered double-figure kills and digs this season. Senior Michelle DeGeeter and freshman Jessica Wolfe lead the squad with five double-doubles a piece, while sophomore Porshia Allen has tallied four. Freshman Katie Daprile, meanwhile, has added two.

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' .163 opponent average on the year ranks third in the Horizon League.

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 eighth in the league with 3.47 kills per game and third on the squad with 2.89 digs per game.

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 7.75 assists per game as the team's primary setter and is third on the team in blocks per game (0.61). Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, has already made an impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second in digs per game (3.07), third in assists (1.02) and fourth in kills (2.00).

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).

Butler Volleyball On The Web: All of Butler's home matches for the remainder of the year 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.

Up Next: The Bulldogs step out of Horizon League play next Friday (Sept. 28) when they host Chicago State beginning at 7:00 p.m. Butler then welcomes first-year league foe Valparaiso to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Sept. 29) for a 4:00 p.m. match.