December 9, 2008

Bulldogs Conclude Impressive 2008 Campaign

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A Year To Remember: The Bulldogs put together one of their finest seasons in recent history in 2008. Butler's .633 winning percentage (19-11) is the program's best mark since 2004 (.643), while the 19 victories are the most since the 2003 squad totaled 20 on the year. The Bulldogs also picked up two regular season tournament championships during the season, the most since the 1997 team won three during the year.

All-League Recognition: Three Butler players found themselves on All-Horizon League teams following the regular season. Newcomer Kelsey Labrum was named the league's Newcomer of the Year after finishing third on the team with 3.01 points per set. Junior Porshia Allen and sophomore Jessica Wolfe were both named to the all-league team after ranking 1-2 on the team in points per set (3.83 and 3.70, respectively).

Digging The Record Book: Katie Daprile put together arguably the finest defensive season in Butler volleyball history in 2008. Her 541 digs during the year shattered the school's single-season record of 522, set by Laura Baire in 1993, while her 4.62 digs per game ranks as the second-best single-season rate all-time behind only Megan Knightly's 5.29 per set in 2005.

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 finished her career with 3,320 assists for career-average of 8.55 assists per set.

Weekly Honors: Three Butler players were honored by the Horizon League with Player of the Week awards in 2008. 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 were tied with the 2005 squad for the most in a season since the 1997 campaign, when the Bulldogs earned four awards.

Threat To Attack: Porshia Allen has been the Bulldogs' go-to gun for offense during her three seasons with the team, and the numbers bare it out. Her 3,170 career attacks already rank as the 10th-highest total in school history.

Butler In The League Rankings: Butler found itself ranked among the Horizon League's best in several statistical categories during the year. The Bulldogs finished second in the league in three statistical categories, including hitting percentage (.212), opponent hitting percentage (.173) and blocks per set (2.31). Butler also ranked third in kills (12.87) and digs (16.50) per set.

A Blocking Trend: The Bulldogs continued to be one of the premier blocking teams in the Horizon League in 2008. Butler finished second in the conference with 2.31 blocks per set and has notched double-figure blocking totals in 15 matches, including a season-high 14 against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Sept. 12.

Leaders In Blocking: Two Butler players ranked in the top-10 in the Horizon League in blocks per set. Jalesa Lee finished seventh in the conference with 0.94 per set, while Maureen Bamiro checked in at ninth with 0.93 per set. Porshia Allen finished just out of the top-10 with 0.84 per set, while Melody Austin (0.99 per set) fell just short of meeting the minimum sets played to qualify for the rankings.

Among The Best: Butler's block assist total in 2008 ranks among the best single-season totals in school history. The Bulldogs finished the year with 474 block assists, which rank in a third-place tie with the 2003 team. Butler's 270.0 total blocks during the year also rank in the top-10, checking in at ninth all-time.

Accuracy Counts: The Bulldogs' .212 hitting percentage not only ranked near the top of the league standings in 2008 but was one of the best single-season marks in program history. Butler's percentage ranks as the ninth-best rate in school history and less than .001 ahead of the 2003 team's mark (.2124 to .2115).

Double-Trouble: Four Butler players registered double-doubles during the 2008 season. Porshia Allen and Jessica Wolfe finished tied for the team lead with 13 double-doubles in kills and digs, while Kelsey Labrum chipped in a pair of her own. Dana Daprile, meanwhile, boasted five double-doubles in assists and digs and one in kills and assists.

...Make That A Triple: Dana Daprile recorded 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.

Tournament Champs: Butler picked up a pair of regular season tournament titles in 2008. The Bulldogs recorded wins over Austin Peay, Loyola (Md.) and host Kennesaw State en route to claiming the Owls Challenge title before defeating UMES, Maine and host Buffalo to take home the Buffalo Ramada Invitational championship. Porshia Allen picked up tourney MVP honors in both competitions, while Dana Daprile and Jessica Wolfe were mentioned on both all-tournament teams.

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.

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.

What A Comeback: Jessica Wolfe tallied her 12th double-double of the season, Dana Daprile notched her sixth and Maureen Bamiro posted a career-high eight blocks, as the Bulldogs rallied from a crushing opening-set loss to score a 7-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-23 victory over fourth-seeded Loyola in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Championship. What could have been a demoralizing first-set defeat turned out to be a rallying point for the Bulldogs, as they clawed their way back to even with a two-point win in the second set before claiming a convincing third set decision to put themselves in the driver's seat. Clinging to life in the fourth game, Loyola rallied back to take a two-point edge late at 23-21 and appeared to be on the brink of forcing a decisive fifth set, but the comeback would end there as the Bulldogs scored four-straight points to come away with the victory.

Title Bid Falls Short In Semis: Butler put together one of its best offensive performances of the season, knocking down a season-best 77 kills on .306 hitting, and put itself on the brink of its first appearance in the Horizon League Championship match since 2000, but top-seeded Milwaukee scored the critical points it needed late to escape with an incredible 37-35, 18-25, 26-28, 25-18, 15-8 decision.