November 20, 2007

Volleyball Continues To Improve In 2007

Nov. 20, 2007

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The Year In Review: The Butler volleyball team continues to improve under head coach Sharon Clark, finishing the 2007 regular season by winning five of its last eight matches to notch 14 wins on the year and seven victories in Horizon League play, the most since the 2004 campaign.

In Their Defense: The Bulldogs finished as one of the top defensive teams in the league and in school history. Butler totaled 497 block assists on the year, finishing just two shy of tying the single-season record of 499 set in 1988. The Bulldogs' 296.5 total blocks also rank as the fourth-best single-season total, while their 2,114 digs rank eighth all-time.

DeGeeter Finishes Among The Best: Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter was 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. DeGeeter finished her career with 354 block assists, the third-most all-time, while her 406 career total blocks are the eighth-most in school history. Additionally, her 123 block assists in 2007 are the fifth-best single-season total and her 143 total blocks are just two shy of tying the 10th-best annual mark. Her 10 block assists against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 and Green Bay on Nov. 9 are also tied for the third-highest single match total in Butler history.

All-League Honors: A trio of Butler volleyball players was honored with postseason awards at the Horizon League Volleyball Championship banquet in Milwaukee. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen earned mention on the all-league squad, while freshmen outside hitters Katie Daprile and Jessica Wolfe nabbed all-newcomer squad distinctions. Head coach Sharon Clark continued her run of recruiting some of the top talent in the league. Including the 2007 trio, Butler has featured 10 all-league players and 10 newcomer team members in her eight seasons at the helm.

Just Like Butter: ...because Porshia Allen finished the season on a roll. In the Bulldogs' final 10 Horizon League matches of the regular season, Allen averaged 4.50 kills and 3.12 digs per game while recording six doubles-doubles. She tallied more than 20 kills in four matches, including a season-high 28 against Wright State. Allen led the team and ranked third in the league with 3.92 kills per game and placed fifth on the squad with 2.26 digs per contest.

...And She Is In Rare Company: With 419 kills this season, sophomore Porshia Allen is the first Butler player to surpass the 400 kill mark in a season since Areal Bienemy registered 428 during the 2004 season. Meanwhile, Allen's 3.92 kills per game are the ninth-best rate for a single-season in school history.

Digging The Record Book: Nina Inic finished her junior season with one of the best single-season dig totals in Butler history. Her 471 digs during the year are the ninth-most for a single campaign and were just four shy of eighth. The Belgrade, Serbia, native already holds the third (40), sixth (35) and eighth-best (32) single-match dig totals in the Butler record book.

Fast Out Of The Blocks: Freshman Jalesa Lee emerged as one of the Bulldogs' most defensively-dominant middle blockers in 2007, especially in the latter portion of the season. The Indianapolis native posted five or more blocks in 10 of the final 15 regular season matches, including a career-best nine both at UIC on Oct. 3 and against Loyola on Nov. 3. Her 1.12 blocks per game were the second most on the team and rank sixth in the Horizon League.

Double Trouble: The rest of the Horizon League already had their hands full trying to contain one Daprile, and in 2007 they had twice as much to contend with. Older sister Dana led the squad with 8.27 assists per game as the team's primary setter and was fifth on the team with 1.29 kills and 0.57 blocks per game. Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, made a huge impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second on the team in digs per game (3.05), third in assists (0.99) and fourth in kills (2.28) and blocks (0.59) to earn a spot on the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: Jessica Wolfe proved to be one of the top newcomers in the Horizon League last season, averaging 2.66 kills and 2.58 digs per game, but she also made her mark in Butler's record book. The Plainfield, Ind. native's 29 kills against Youngstown State were not only a single-match high for a Bulldog in 2007 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.

Block Party: Blocking has been a strong aspect of Butler teams in recent years, and the 2007 season was no exception. The Bulldogs out-blocked their opponents 296.5 to 222.0, a difference of 74.5, while ranking third in the league with 2.67 blocks per game. The Bulldogs posted double-figure block totals in 17 matches, including five with 15 or more. Additionally, two Butler players finished among the top-10 in the league in blocks, with Michelle DeGeeter ranking fourth with 1.29 per game and Jalesa Lee ranking sixth with 1.12 per game.

The Double-Double Club: Six Butler players registered double-doubles in 2007. Senior Michelle DeGeeter totaled a team-best 14 on the year, while sophomore Porshia Allen added 11. Freshmen Katie Daprile and Jessica Wolfe both had eight a piece, followed by Brittany Awai's five and Dana Daprile's four.

...Make That A Triple: Two of Michelle DeGeeter's double-doubles have actually been one better, as the senior middle blocker tallied the Bulldogs' only triple-doubles of the season. The Warsaw, Ind. native finished with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 total blocks against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 and went for 14 kills, a career-best 23 digs and 11 total blocks against Green Bay on Nov. 9.

DeGeeter Earns Weekly Honor: After putting together a dominant showing in helping the Bulldogs to the West Virginia Volleyball Classic title from Sept. 7-8, senior Michelle DeGeeter was named the Horizon League's Offensive Player of the Week. DeGeeter earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors after averaging 4.67 kills and 2.56 digs per game in helping the Bulldogs sweep past East Tennessee State, West Virginia and Indiana State. After opening the tournament with a team-high 15 kills against the Buccaneers, she tallied 12 against the Mountaineers before adding a team-best 15 against the Sycamores.

Too Hot For A Penguin: Butler certainly got the best of Youngstown State in 2007, claiming strong wins in both meetings with the Penguins. In fact, the Bulldogs' two highest single-match kill totals of the year came against YSU. Butler shelled-out 79 kills in five games when it hosted the Penguins on Sept. 14 before notching a whopping 83 at Youngstown State on Oct. 13. The latter total was tied for the fifth-highest single-match total in the Horizon League last season and is one shy of the 10th-best mark in Butler history.

Can I Lend You A Hand?: The Bulldogs received a lot of help in their grueling five-game win over Youngstown State on Sept. 14, as the team combined for a Horizon League season-high 77 assists in the match. Butler matched that mark less than a month later in Youngstown, dishing 77 in a five-game win over the Penguins on Oct. 13.

The Biggest Help: Junior Dana Daprile continued to reach new heights as the Bulldogs' primary setter in 2007. The Bargersville, Ind., native dished a then-career-high 59 assists against Youngstown State on Sept. 14 before besting the figure on Nov. 9 against Green Bay with 60.

Dealing Aces: The Bulldogs had a few aces up their sleeves against Jacksonville on Aug. 24; fourteen of them, to be exact. Butler's total was a single-match high in the Horizon League in 2007 and was just three shy of tying the school record of 17, set against both Western Illinois and Xavier in 1990. Junior Chloe' Blasingame paced the team with a career-high five aces, while junior Dana Daprile tied her career mark with four.

The Best Offense Is A Great Defense: Butler certainly took that idea to heart in claiming nine-straight games at the WVU Volleyball Classic from 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.

Taking Care Of Business: The Bulldogs 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.