October 24, 2007

Volleyball Hosts Wright State On Friday Night

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The Week Ahead: The Bulldogs host the first of five-straight Horizon League matches this weekend when they welcome Wright State to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday (Oct. 26) at 7:00 p.m. for the only competition of the weekend.

Home Sweet Home: Butler is in the midst of six consecutive home matches to close out the regular season. The Bulldogs got off to a great start on Sunday with a 3-0 sweep of UMKC and will host league foes Wright State, UIC, Loyola, Green Bay and Milwaukee to end the year.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler boasts an 11-12 overall record and a 4-7 Horizon League mark heading into the stretch of five-consecutive league contests. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking second with a .160 opponent hitting percentage, third with 2.51 blocks per game and fourth with 18.43 digs per contest. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks third in the league with 3.73 kills per game and has added confident back row defense with two digs per contest. Senior Michelle DeGeeter continues to be one of the top middle blockers in the league, ranking fifth in the conference with 1.17 blocks per game and seventh with 3.39 kills per game while adding 2.49 digs per game. 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 2.79 kills per game and 2.57 digs per contest, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 2.18 kills, 0.97 assists, 2.92 digs and 0.49 blocks per game. Lee has added a strong presence in the middle with 0.91 kills and 1.04 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile has been the Bulldogs' primary setter with 7.39 assists per game, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team with 4.48 digs per game.

Last Week In Review:
Oct. 19 - Valparaiso 3, Butler 1 (Valparaiso, Ind.)
Butler hit .304 with 17 kills and held host Valparaiso to .000 hitting in claiming a win in the third game, but an early 0-2 deficit would be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome as the Crusaders claimed a 30-19, 30-26, 19-30, 30-22 victory at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Sophomore Porshia Allen posted her ninth double-double of the year with 12 kills and 13 digs while adding a team-high seven blocks.

Oct. 21 - Butler 3, UMKC 0 (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Butler hit a season-high .303 in the match while holding visiting UMKC to opponent season-lows with 23 kills and a .000 attack percentage in claiming a convincing 30-22, 30-10, 30-21 decision. Five of the Butler starters hit above .300 in the match, including a match-best .435 (11-1-23) by freshman Jessica Wolfe, as the Bulldogs claimed a business-like sweep in one hour, 25 minutes. Michelle DeGeeter tallied her team-leading 10th double-double of the year with a match-high 13 kills and 11 digs, and Dana Daprile added her second with a team-best 36 assists and 12 digs.

Taking Care Of Business: The Bulldogs certainly had their way with UMKC on Oct. 21, topping the Kangaroos in a swift one hour, 25 minute three-game match. Butler hit a season-best .303 in the contest while setting three-game-match season highs with 48 assists and 69 digs. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs held UMKC to opponent season-lows with 23 kills and a .000 hitting percentage.

Gimme Five: Maybe they just enjoying being on the floor more, but the Bulldogs have been one of the best teams in the league when it comes to winning in five games. Butler boasts a 4-1 record in league matches this season when they go the full five, topping Green Bay and Loyola once and Youngstown State twice, while the lone defeat came at the hands of UIC. The five matches averaged over 2:22 in total time, with the first match against YSU the longest at 2:32.

Block Party: Blocking has been a strong point of Butler teams in recent years, and this season is no exception. The Bulldogs have out-blocked their opponents 220.5 to 172.0, a 22 percent difference, while ranking third in the league with 2.51 blocks per game. The Bulldogs have posted double-figure block totals in 13 matches, including three with 15 or more. Additionally, two Butler players are among the top-10 in the league in blocks, with Michelle DeGeeter ranking fifth with 1.17 per game and Jalesa Lee ranking eighth with 1.04 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 ranked among the best in the program's history. With 316 block assists, she is currently tied for sixth all-time with Areal Bienemy and needs 11 more to pass Jill Spurgeon's fifth-place total of 326. Meanwhile, her 366 total blocks moves her past Candice Washington for ninth-place and leaves her just five behind Bienemy (371) for eighth. Additionally, DeGeeter's 10 block assists against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 are tied for the third-highest single match total in Butler history.

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 just two kills shy of her rookie season total (313) with six matches to go in the regular season. Her 3.73 kills per game are the third-most in the league this year.

The Double-Double Club: Six Butler players have registered double-doubles this season. Senior Michelle DeGeeter boasts a team-best 10, sophomore Porshia Allen touts nine and freshman Jessica Wolfe has tallied eight. Meanwhile, sophomore Brittany Awai and freshman Katie Daprile have added five double-doubles a piece this season, while junior Dana Daprile notched two.

...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 2.79 kills and 2.57 digs per game, but she has also already made her mark in Butler's record book. The Plainfield, Ind. native's 29 kills against Youngstown State are not only a single-match high for the Bulldogs this season but are tied for the sixth-best total in school history. Kali Carter set the top mark with 32 kills against Western Illinois in 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.

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 continue on their season-ending homestand when they welcome UIC to town on Friday, Nov. 2 for a 7:00 p.m. match. Loyola invades Hinkle Fieldhouse the following afternoon (Nov. 3) as Butler battles the Ramblers beginning at 2:00 p.m.