October 30, 2007

Volleyball Hosts UIC, Loyola This Weekend

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The Week Ahead: Butler continues its season-ending six-match homestand this weekend when it welcomes UIC to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday (Nov. 2) for a 7:00 p.m. match. The Bulldogs then host Loyola the following afternoon (Nov. 3) beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Butler Volleyball On The Web: All of Butler's remaining home matches 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 the "Watch" links on the volleyball schedule.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler touts an 11-13 overall record and a 4-8 Horizon League mark heading into a pair of weekend league matches. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking second with a .160 opponent hitting percentage and third with 2.50 blocks and 18.31 digs per contest. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks third in the league with 3.83 kills per game while adding 2.12 digs per contest. Senior Michelle DeGeeter continues to be one of the top middle blockers in the league, ranking fourth in the conference with 1.16 blocks per game and seventh with 3.27 kills per game while adding 2.42 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 2.74 kills per game and 2.53 digs per contest, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 2.18 kills, 0.94 assists, 2.88 digs and 0.51 blocks per game. Lee has added a strong presence in the middle with 0.92 kills and 1.06 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile has been the Bulldogs' primary setter with 7.52 assists per game, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team with 4.48 digs per game.

Last Week In Review:
Oct. 26 - Wright State 3, Butler 2 (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Porshia Allen tied her career-high with 28 kills and added a career-best 21 digs while helping the Bulldogs to a 2-1 lead against visiting Wright State, but the Raiders rallied back for wins in the final two games to secure the match 30-22, 27-30, 28-30, 30-24, 15-12. Allen, who notched her 10th double-double of the season, finished with a .377 hitting percentage (28-8-53) in the match. Katie Daprile tallied her sixth with 11 kills and 11 digs, while Jalesa Lee tallied a .400 hitting percentage (5-1-10) and finished with a team-best seven total blocks. Nina Inic tied her career-best kill total with two while leading the team with 23 digs, and Dana Daprile added 49 assists and seven kills.

Flames Start A Fire: Sophomore Porshia Allen has consistently been the Bulldogs' most effective offensive player this season, leading the team with 3.83 kills per game. She has been exceptionally dominant in the past seven matches, however, begining with the Bulldogs' match at UIC on Oct. 3. Including her 25 kills and 17 digs against the Flames, the Indianapolis native has averaged 4.50 kills and 3.07 digs per game while posting five double-doubles in the team's last seven contests.

Gimme Five: Maybe they just enjoy being on the floor more, but the Bulldogs have been tough to beat when matches go to five games. Butler boasts a 4-2 record in league matches this season when they go the full five, topping Green Bay and Loyola once and Youngstown State twice, while the tough defeats came at the hands of UIC and Wright State. The six 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 232.5 to 186.0, a difference of 46.5, while ranking third in the league with 2.50 blocks per game. The Bulldogs have posted double-figure block totals in 14 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 fourth with 1.16 per game and Jalesa Lee ranking eighth with 1.06 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 321 block assists, she currently ranks sixth all-time and needs six more to pass Jill Spurgeon's fifth-place total of 326. Meanwhile, her 371 total blocks moves her into an eighth-place tie with Areal Bienemy. 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 has already far exceeded her rookie season total, notching 341 kills with four matches remaining in the regular season. Her 3.83 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 and sophomore Porshia Allen are tied for the team lead with 10 each, while freshman Jessica Wolfe has added eight. Freshman Katie Daprile boasts six double-doubles, followed by Brittany Awai's five and Dana Daprile's two.

...Make That A Triple: Michelle DeGeeter did one better than a double-double against Valparaiso on Sept. 29, registering the Bulldogs' only triple double of the season with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 total 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 2.74 kills and 2.53 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 a Bulldog 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.

Fast Out Of The Blocks: Freshman Jalesa Lee has emerged as one of the Bulldogs' most defensively-dominant middle blockers this season, especially in the past few matches. The Indianapolis native has posted five or more blocks in eight of the last 11 matches, including a career-best nine at UIC on Oct. 3. Her 1.06 blocks per game are the second most on the team and rank eighth in the Horizon League.

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 limited 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 an opponent season-low -.046 hitting percentage in three games. No CSU player had more than six kills as the Bulldogs allowed just 24 kills in the match. Butler's .160 opponent average on the year ranks second in the Horizon League.

Up Next: The regular season comes to a close as the Bulldogs host Green Bay on Friday (Nov. 9) beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse before battling league-leading Milwaukee the following afternoon (Nov. 10) at 2:00 p.m. Butler's contest against the Panthers will also serve as Senior Day, with middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter being honored prior to the match.