October 6, 2008

Volleyball Heads To Wright State Before Hosting Loyola, UIC

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The Opening Serve: Butler enters its busiest stretch of the Horizon League campaign this week when plays in three matches in a five-day span. The Bulldogs open up the swing in Dayton, Ohio, with a 7:00 p.m. contest at Wright State on Wednesday (Oct. 8). Butler then returns to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Oct. 11) when it takes on Loyola at 2:00 p.m. before hosting UIC the following afternoon (Oct. 12) at 2:00 p.m.

Butler Volleyball On HLN: All of Butler's home volleyball matches can be viewed live online for free through the Horizon League Network, with Cory Stark providing play-by-play for the Bulldogs this season. The games can be viewed by clicking on the "Watch on HLN" link next to the match on the volleyball schedule at www.ButlerSports.com.

Dig Pink: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Butler volleyball team will be promoting awareness by wearing pink warm-ups prior to all of their October home matches. The Bulldogs will also hold a Breast Cancer Awareness Day at their Oct. 12 match against UIC. Butler Athletics and the Panhellenic Council will sell pink Butler Volleyball t-shirts, with all proceeds benefiting the Side-Out Foundation. T-shirts can also be pre-ordered at this weekend's matches against YSU and CSU and will be available at Atherton Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this week.

A Great Start: The Bulldogs are off to one of the best starts in program history. Butler's 14-3 record is the program's best mark through 17 matches since the 1997 squad opened up at 15-2. The mark is also tied with the 1988 team for the second-best 17-match record in program history.

The View From The Top: With a 4-1 record in Horizon League play, the Bulldogs enter the week alone on the top of the league standings. Loyola (3-1) and Milwaukee (3-1) are the only two other schools in the conference with fewer than two losses in the league season.

A Look At This Week's Opponents: Butler will square off with a trio of long-time foes this week, as Loyola (52 meetings all-time), Wright State (42) and UIC (38) have met the Bulldogs in volleyball more times than any other opponent in school history. Wright State enters a Tuesday (Oct. 7) contest against Valparaiso with a 6-11 overall record and a 4-2 mark in conference play after picking up a 3-1 win at UIC on Saturday (Oct. 4). Loyola carries a 13-3 overall mark and a 3-1 league record into a two-match road swing through Green Bay and Milwaukee on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Indianapolis on Saturday. UIC, meanwhile, is 6-10 on the year and 1-4 in conference after picking up a non-conference win against Quinnipiac on Sunday (Oct. 5) and will face Milwaukee and Valparaiso before finishing the week at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Last Week's Results:
Butler 3, Youngstown State 2 - Friday, Oct. 3 - Indianapolis, Ind.
Butler knocked down a season-high 73 kills, including 18 each from Porshia Allen, Kelsey Labrum and Jessica Wolfe, as the Bulldogs overcame a 2-1 deficit to come away with a 25-20, 24-26, 24-26, 25-16, 15-8 victory over visiting Youngstown State on Oct. 3. Butler clicked on all cylinders on both offense and defense, notching season-highs with 73 kills and 101 digs. The Bulldogs also finished with 10.5 blocks in the match, the ninth time they have finished in double-figures and the ninth-straight contest with at least nine. Allen and Wolfe both notched double-doubles, setter Dana Daprile came a dig and a kill shy of a triple-double with a season-best 57 assists and Katie Daprile totaled a career-high 31 digs.

Butler 3, Cleveland State 0 - Saturday, Oct. 4 - Indianapolis, Ind.
Jessica Wolfe notched a team-high 14 kills and Kelsey Labrum added 10 as Butler rallied from significant late deficits in the final two sets against Cleveland State to claim a 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 sweep of the Vikings on Oct. 4 afternoon. Wolfe finished just one dig shy of her seventh double-double of the year, totaling a match-high 14 kills and adding nine digs. Labrum finished with a team-best .421 (10-2-19) hitting percentage in the match, while Maureen Bamiro notched a career-best eight kills and added five blocks. Dana Daprile dished 33 assists while Katie Daprile once again led the squad on defense with 16 digs.

A Blocking Trend: The Butler blocking corps has shined in the early going, as the Bulldogs have notched double-figure blocking totals in nine of 15 matches this year, including a season-high 14 against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

...And A Blocking Advantage: Butler's blocking stats are even more impressive when comparing them to their opponents' totals. The Bulldogs' 159.5 blocks this season are nearly 70 percent more than the amount registered by their opponents (94.0). The start of league play hasn't changed the team's dominance, as Butler holds a 48 to 36 edge on blocking against conference foes.

Butler In The League Rankings: Butler finds itself ranked among the Horizon League's best in several statistical categories. The Bulldogs lead the league with 2.45 blocks per set and are second with a .221 hitting percentage, a .146 opponent hitting percentage and 12.92 kills per set. Butler also finds itself in third with 15.78 digs per set and fourth with 11.63 assists per set.

A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Wolfe has been the Bulldogs' leading offensive threat this season. Her 3.42 kills per set pace the team and are the third-most among all Horizon League players.

Block Party: It should come as no surprise that the Bulldogs lead the league in blocks because they have some of the best middle blockers in the conference. In fact, three of the top 10 blockers in the league play for Butler, with Jalesa Lee pacing the league with 1.16 blocks per set, Porshia Allen in sixth with 1.00 per set and Maureen Bamiro in seventh with 0.98 per set.

More From Sophomores: Butler has gotten quite a bit of production from sophomores Jessica Wolfe and Kelsey Labrum, with Wolfe ranking third in the Horizon League with 3.81 points per set and Labrum in eighth with 3.45 points per set. In fact, the two Bulldogs are the only two players on the top-10 list who have not yet reached their junior season.

Offensive-Minded Setter: Dana Daprile has quite a knack for helping her teammates register kills, as the senior setter ranks third in the Horizon League with 8.61 assists per set. But she isn't afraid to take matters into her own hands either, and has had a lot of success as well. Daprile currently ranks fifth in the conference with a .278 hitting percentage (98-31-241).

Double-Trouble: Four Butler players have registered double-doubles on the year. Junior Porshia Allen and sophomore Jessica Wolfe have each notched six double-doubles with kills and digs, while sophomore Kelsey Labrum has added two. Senior Dana Daprile, meanwhile, boasts one with assists and digs.

All Good Streaks Must Come To An End: Butler's nine-match winning streak came to an end when IUPUI handed the Bulldogs a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 16. The streak was the program's longest since the 1997 season when the Bulldogs opened the year with 11 wins in a row. The 1986 squad set the school record with 15 straight victories.

Anatomy Of A Winning Streak: It should come as no surprise that Butler's nine-match winning streak featured some impressive statistics. During the trek, the Bulldogs fell in only six of 33 sets while delivering sweeps in four contests. Additionally, Butler held a commanding edge in both offense and defense, out-hitting its opponents .256 to .122 and registering 2.80 blocks per set to its foes' 1.15 per set. The Bulldogs also picked up tournament championships in both the Kennesaw State Owls Challenge and in the Buffalo Ramada Invitational.

Next Up: Butler has one of its slowest weeks of the year next weekend when it heads to Valparaiso on Friday (Oct. 17) for a 8:00 p.m. ET match against the Crusaders.