Volleyball Opens League Tournament Against Loyola On Friday

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The Opening Serve: Butler opens up the 2008 Horizon League Championship this weekend as the No. 5 seed and will take fourth-seeded Loyola in the quarterfinals on Friday (Nov. 21) beginning at 2:00 p.m. at Woodling Gymnasium on the campus of Cleveland State. A win in the match would send the Bulldogs onto the semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 22) at 12:30 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for noon on Sunday (Nov. 23).

Butler Volleyball On The Web: All of Butler's matches in the Horizon League Tournament, including its contest against Loyola on Friday, will feature live streaming video through the Horizon League Network and can be accessed by clicking on the "Watch on HLN" link on www.ButlerSports.com.

How We Got Here: Butler enters the league tournament as the No. 5 seed after finishing the conference regular season with an 8-8 record. Loyola also finished at 8-8 in league play but earned the tiebreaker for the No. 4 seed by claiming wins in both meetings with the Bulldogs during the year.

Butler In The League Tournament: The Bulldogs tout a 25-19 all-time record in the Horizon League Championship dating back to the tournament's inaugural season in 1986. Butler won its first nine matches in tournament play -- including a pair of 3-0 stints en route to conference titles in 1986 and 1987 -- before falling in the championship bout to Saint Louis in 1988. The program's third title came in 1997, when the Bulldogs swept past UIC in the semifinals before scoring a 15-6, 15-13, 15-9 win over Loyola in the title match. Butler has not fared as well of late, however, with its last tournament victory coming in the second round of the 2003 championship. The Bulldogs are 6-5 all-time against Loyola in the Horizon League Championship.

A Look At The Ramblers: Loyola enters the Horizon League Championship with a 19-10 overall record and an 8-8 mark in league play. The Ramblers claimed both matches against the Bulldogs this season, winning in four sets at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Oct. 11 before notching a three-set win in Chicago on Nov. 8. Sarah Singer leads the team with 2.88 kills per set, Alyse Serritella paces the squad with 4.04 digs per set, while Lauren Ditscheit (5.59 assists per set) and Mindy Rees (4.85) have split time at setter.

Last Week's Results:
Wright State 3, Butler 2 - Friday, Nov. 14 - Indianapolis, Ind.
Butler took a two-sets-to-none lead and had a pair of match points in the third against Wright State, but couldn't sustain the momentum, falling to the visiting Raiders, 26-24, 25-19, 25-27, 18-25, 9-15 on senior night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Porshia Allen posted her 13th double-double of the season with 20 kills and 13 digs, Dana Daprile added her fifth double-double with 47 assists and 17 digs while Jessica Wolfe finished a dig shy of her 12th with 12 kills and nine digs.

Quite A Season So Far: The Bulldogs are having one of their finest seasons in recent history. Butler's 18 are the most since the 2004 season. Meanwhile, at 18-10 on the year, Butler's .643 winning percentage is tied with the 2004 team for the best mark since the 1997 squad finished the season with an .800 percentage at 28-7.

Weekly Honors: Three Butler players have been honored by the Horizon League with Player of the Week awards this season. Dana Daprile was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 27, while Jalesa Lee (Sept. 15) and Katie Daprile (Nov. 3) were both named Defensive Players of the Week. The three recognitions are tied with the 2005 squad for the most in a season since the 1997 campaign, when the Bulldogs earned four awards.

Digging It: Katie Daprile has been one of the top defensive specialists in the Horizon League this season, ranking fourth with 4.67 digs per set. Additionally, with her 19 digs against Wright State on Nov. 14, she became just the third player in Butler history to record over 500 digs in a single season. Her 504 digs are the third-most all-time and are just 19 digs shy of passing Laura Baire's school record of 522, set during the 1993 season.

Miss 3,000: With her second assist of the contest against Milwaukee on Oct. 25, Dana Daprile became just the fifth player in Butler history to record 3,000 assists in her career. She currently touts 3,228 assists in her career, including a personal single-season-best 1,001 assists this year.

Leading Attacker: Porshia Allen has been the Bulldogs' go-to gun for offense during her three seasons with the team, and the numbers bare it out. With 3,110 attacks in her career, Allen is just 28 away from cracking the school's top-10 list, trailing Michelle DeGeeter's 10th-place total of 3,138.

Butler In The League Rankings: Butler finds itself ranked among the Horizon League's best in several statistical categories. The Bulldogs are second in the league in a pair of statistical categories, including opponent hitting percentage (.168) and blocks per set (2.33). Butler also ranks third with a .207 hitting percentage, 12.80 kills per set and 16.58 digs per set.

A Blocking Trend: The Bulldogs continue to be one of the premier blocking teams in the Horizon League this season. Butler is second in the conference with 2.33 blocks per set and has notched double-figure blocking totals in 14 matches, including a season-high 14 against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Leaders In Blocking: Three Butler players rank in the top-10 in the Horizon League in blocks per set. Jalesa Lee is fifth in the conference with 0.99 per set, Maureen Bamiro checks in at ninth with 0.89 per set and Porshia Allen ranks 10th with 0.85 per set. The Bulldogs are the only team in the league to feature three players in the top-10. Melody Austin (0.98 per set) also has impressive blocking numbers, but they fall short of the minimum sets played to make for the list. If they did qualify, Austin would rank sixth on the charts.

Among The Best: Butler's block assist total this season ranks among the best single-season totals in school history. The Bulldogs currently tout 444 block assists on the year, which ranks as the eighth-highest mark all-time. Next up is the 2006 squad's seventh-place total of 449. The 1988 team boasts the school's single-season record with 499.

Accuracy Counts: The Bulldogs' .207 hitting percentage not only ranks near the top of the Horizon League standings this season but is on pace to be one of the best single-season marks in program history. The 2008 squad's percentage would currently rank as the 10th-best average.

Double-Trouble: Four Butler players have registered double-doubles on the year. Porshia Allen leads the way with 13 double-doubles in kills and digs on the year, Jessica Wolfe has notched 11 and Kelsey Labrum has chipped in a pair. Dana Daprile, meanwhile, boasts five double-doubles in assists and digs.

...Make That A Triple: Dana Daprile owns Butler's lone triple-double of the season. The senior setter knocked down 12 kills, dished 52 assists and added 19 digs to help lead the Bulldogs to a five-set victory over Green Bay on Oct. 24 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

We're Going Streaking: Butler boasted a nine-match winning streak from August 30 to 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.

Next Up: A win over Loyola on Friday would send the Bulldogs into the semifinals of the league tournament for the first time since the 2003 season. Butler would face the winner of the quarterfinal match between top-seeded Milwaukee and either No. 8 UIC or No. 9 Youngstown State beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 22).