The Week Ahead: Butler kicks-off a six-match road swing this week when they head to Chicago on Tuesday (Oct. 2) for an 8:00 p.m. ET match against league foe Loyola at the Gentile Center. The Bulldogs remain in the Windy City on Wednesday (Oct. 3) for a 7:00 p.m. ET contest against UIC before heading to Dayton, Ohio on Saturday (Oct. 6) for a 4:00 p.m. match at Wright State.
Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler carries an 8-8 overall record and a 2-3 mark in Horizon League play into the start of the three-week-long road trip. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking third 2.48 blocks per game and fourth with both 18.13 digs per game and a .163 opponent hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks fifth in the league with 3.62 kills per game, while senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter leads the team and is third in the league with 1.22 blocks per game and checks in with 3.33 kills and 2.25 digs per contest. Butler has received significant support on both offense and defense from a trio of freshman in outside hitters Jessica Wolfe and Katie Daprile and middle blocker Jalesa Lee. Wolfe is third on the team with 3.17 kills per game and has added 2.87 digs per game, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 1.92 kills, 1.07 assists, 2.98 digs and 0.53 blocks per game. Lee has added a strong presence in the middle with 0.90 kills and 0.90 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile and sophomore Brittany Awai have split time at setter with the pair averaging 10.4 assists per game between them, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team and ranks fifth in the league with 4.61 digs per contest.
Recapping Last Week:
Sept. 28 - Butler 3, Chicago State 0 (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter paced the Bulldogs with 14 kills and freshmen outside hitters Katie Daprile and Jessica Wolfe each notched 10 digs as Butler ran away with a 30-17, 30-20, 30-21 rout of visiting Chicago State at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler dominated their foe on both sides of the ball, knocking down 44 kills to the Cougars' 24 while holding them to a -.046 hitting percentage in the match. DeGeeter led all players with 14 kills and a .417 hitting percentage, while freshman Jalesa Lee added six kills at a career-best .333 hitting percentage and six block assists. Freshman Holly Knight added a career-best seven kills in the match while hitting .312. Wolfe and Daprile each finished with match-high 10 digs, while sophomore Brittany Awai and junior Dana Daprile added 15 assists each.
Sept. 29 - Valparaiso 3, Butler 1 (Hinkle
The Bulldogs registered arguably their most impressive single-game performance of the year in the second contest against Valparaiso, hitting a whopping .474 while tallying 10.5 blocks as a team, but the visiting Crusaders held off Butler in the final two games to take the match, 30-20, 16-30, 30-27, 30-27. Butler out-hit Valpo in the match, .157 to .119, and finished with a commanding edge in blocking (16.5 to 9.5), but it would not be enough in the end. Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter finished the match with her first triple-double of the season, totaling 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 blocks.
Block Party: Butler's blocking performance against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 was not only the most impressive of the season but also ranks as one of the best all-time. The Bulldogs' 31 block assists in the match are the most in school history for a four-game match and are the second-highest single-match total overall. Meanwhile, Michelle DeGeeter's 10 block assists tied for her career-best total and also rank tied for third in Butler history.
Partying All Weekend: Freshman Jalesa Lee was a big factor in the Bulldogs' blocking success over the weekend against Chicago State and Valparaiso. The 6-1 middle blocker led the team and set a career-high with six block assists against the Cougars on Sept. 28 before coming one short of her previous night's total with five against the Crusaders on Sept. 29.
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 ranked among the best in the program's history. Her 13 block assists over the weekend moved her past Candice Washington for ninth all-time with 293 in her career. DeGeeter's 3.36 total blocks also places her in the Bulldogs' top-10 list and leaves her just 27 shy of Washington's ninth-place mark of 363.
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 at 2.98 per game and earning a spot on the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team as a freshman in 2006. There has been no let-down to speak of this season, as the Indianapolis native is well on her way to topping her rookie totals, leading the team with 203 kills at a rate of 3.62 per game.
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 six double-doubles a piece, while sophomore Porshia Allen has tallied five. Freshman Katie Daprile, meanwhile, has added three.
...Make That A Triple: Michelle DeGeeter did one better than a double-double against Valparaiso on Sept. 29, registering the Bulldogs' first triple double of the season with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 blocks. DeGeeter had Butler's only kills-digs-blocks triple-double last year, finishing with 21 kills, 11 digs and 12 blocks against Loyola.
A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: Jessica Wolfe has already proven to be one of the top newcomers in the Horizon League so far this season, averaging 3.17 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.
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.
...And The Cougars Got The Message Loud And Clear: Butler amassed its most staggering defensive performance of the year against Chicago State on Sept. 28, holding the Cougars to -.046 hitting in three games. No CSU player had more than six kills as the Bulldogs held their foe to a season-low 24 kills in the match. Butler's .163 opponent average on the year ranks fourth in the Horizon League.
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 6.97 assists per game as the team's primary setter and is third on the team with 37 total blocks. Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, has already made an impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second in digs per game (2.98), third in assists (1.07) and fourth in kills (1.92).
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: Butler continues on its six-match road
trip, stopping at Cleveland State on Oct. 12 for a 7:00 p.m. ET
match before heading to Youngstown State on Oct. 13 for a 2:00 p.m.
ET contest. The trek concludes at Valparaiso on Oct. 19 as the
Bulldogs battle the Crusaders at 8:00 p.m. ET.