2010 Butler Volleyball
THE FIRST SERVE
The Butler volleyball team, which has won four straight and six of seven, will aim for a 4-0 start in league play for the first time since 2004 when it hosts UIC Saturday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 4 p.m. The match will be about one hour after Butler’s home football game and all fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Bulldogs (8-6, 3-0) enter Saturday league tilt after posting a pair of wins against IUPUI and Wright State last week. BU rolled past IUPUI last Tuesday, 3-0, before earning a 3-1 win against WSU. Butler finished 7-3 in the month of September, with losses only to Arizona, Louisville and Xavier.
Butler and Milwaukee are currently the only two Horizon League teams standing 3-0. Cleveland State and Valparaiso are each 2-1. BU has already won at Valpo, taking a 3-2 decision back on Sept. 18.
Senior Jessica Wolfe continues to lead the Horizon League in kills and points, while ranking in the nation’s top 70 in both categories. However, it’s been blocking that has gotten the Dawgs on the winning track lately. Butler has climed to second in the league in team blocking (2.15). Junior Maureen Bamiro and freshman Claire Randich are among the league’s blocking leaders.
Following Saturday’s match vs. UIC, BU goes on the road to Cleveland State (Oct. 5) and Youngstown State (Oct. 6).
FAST LEAGUE START: Butler jumped out to a great start in Horizon League play, winning two on the road at Loyola and Valpo before defeating Wright State last Friday. It is the first time BU has started 4-0 in league play since 2004, when it went 12-2 in conference play. The Bulldogs also achieved that feat in 2003.
WOLFE THE TOP DOG IN HL: Outside hitter Jessica Wolfe, named league player of the week on August 30, leads the Horizon League in kills per set (3.91) and points per set (4.33). Last year, she led the league in both categories en route to first team All-Horizon League honors. Her 4.01 kills rate last season was the eighth best season of hitting in school history. The Plainfield, Ind., native has nine outings with at least 14 kills this season to go along with six double-doubles.
WOLFE REGIONALLY AND NATIONALLY: Not only was Jessica Wolfe prominent among the Horizon League leaders, the 6-2 outside hitter also garnered national attention. Wolfe was named AVCA All-Midwest Region and then capture honorable mention AVCA All-America honors. Wolfe is currently 48th in the country in kills per set and 68th in the nation in points.
COACHING MILESTONES FOR CLARK: Sharon Clark is closing in on the the record for volleyball coaching wins at Butler. Now in her 11th season at BU, Clark owns 164 wins, just five shy of Sharon Dingman’s (1992-99) record of 169. Last season, Butler’s 3-0 win over Alabama A&M on Homecoming was career victory No. 250 for Sharon Clark.
DAPRILE KEEPS DIGGING: Katie Daprile has 244 digs (4.52) this season, and in the process has moved into third on Butler’s all-time digs list with 1,679. Daprile needs 43 digs to reach second place in school history. The 5-11 senior has put together two of the most prolific digs seasons in school history, posting a school-record 541 digs in 2008 and beating that with 556 digs last season. She currently ranks fourth in the Horizon League in digs per set.
VERA SETTING IT UP: The setter on the other end of Butler’s attack success is sophomore Gina Vera, who was named to the league’s all-newcomer squad last season. Vera had 77 assists in BU’s two victories last week for an average of 11.00 per set. The Joliet, Ill., native stood second in the Horizon League with 10.79 assists per set last season, and she finished 45th in the national assist rankings.
BU vs. THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS: Butler is 24-19 (.558) all-time against UIC. The Bulldogs beat the Flames at home last season, but lost to them in Chicago and in the league tournament in Cleveland.
LESTER TRYING ANOTHER SPORT: Susan Lester, now a volleyball starter, was a standout basketball player for BU the past four years. The Anderson, Ind., native scored 1,275 points and grabbed 781 rebounds. The all-league hoops player, now in grad school, posted a career-best 24 digs in BU’s win at Valparaiso. She also had nine kills, tying her career high.
UP NEXT: Butler will travel to defending regular season champ Cleveland State Tuesday, Oct. 5. BU then plays at Youngstown State the next night.