League-Leading Bulldogs Host Valpo, Loyola
2010 Butler Volleyball
The First Serve
The Butler volleyball team, coming off four straight road matches last week, hosts Valparaiso and Loyola at Hinkle Fieldhouse this weekend. The Bulldogs are currently tied for first in the Horizon League standings with Milwaukee at 7-1. Fans are encouraged to wear pink for breast cancer awareness.
The Bulldogs (12-7, 7-1) enter the weekend after a successful week-long road trip. After losing at Cleveland State, BU won 3-0 at Youngstown State and then picked up 3-2 wins at Milwaukee and Green Bay. Butler now owns road wins over league contenders Valparaiso and Milwaukee.
Butler opened league play on the road against the Crusaders and Ramblers back in mid-September, defeating both teams 3-2. In both matches, BU had a 2-1 lead and held on to win. Butler is 6-1 since playing those two teams.
Senior Jessica Wolfe leads the Horizon League in kills and points, while ranking in the nation's top 60 in both categories. Senior libero Katie Daprile reached a career milestone last week, becoming Butler's all-time leader in digs with 1,778. Another Butler career mark could be reached this weekend, as head coach Sharon Clark aims for the school record in wins. She needs one to tie the record of 169.
Following this weekend's home set, Butler travels to Wright State Friday, Oct. 22. Butler defeated WSU, 3-1, back on Sept. 24.
LEAGUE LEADER: Halfway through the 16-match league season, Butler is tied with Milwaukee for first in the HL at 7-1. This is despite playing six of those eight league tilts on the road. With eight conference matches left, Butler will have the advantage of playing at home six times. It is the first time Butler has started 7-1 in league play since 2004.
WOLFE THE TOP DOG IN HL: Outside hitter Jessica Wolfe, recently named Horizon League player of the week, leads the league in kills per set (3.93) and points per set (4.40). 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 11 outings with at least 14 kills this season along with eight 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 captured honorable mention AVCA All-America honors. Wolfe is currently 48th in the country in kills per set and 60th in the nation in points.
ALL-TIME WINS LEADER: Sharon Clark can match and/or surpass the school record for wins this weekend. Now in her 11th season at BU, Clark owns 168 wins, just one 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 DIGS THE RECORD BOOK: Katie Daprile is now BU's all-time leader for career digs and enters this weekend with 1,778. Megan Knightly (2002-05) was the previous digs record holder with 1,737. 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. Her current career rate of 4.18 digs per set would also be a school record.
VERA SETTING IT UP: Gina Vera, who was named to the league's all-newcomer squad last season, is averaging 10.92 assists per set during Butler's last three wins, up from her season average of 10.00. She had a season-high 57 assists in Butler's 3-2 win at Green Bay.
BU vs. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Butler is 52-38 (.578) against Valparaiso and Loyola all-time, including a 24-8 mark against the Crusaders. BU has already defeated both teams on the road, marking Butler's first win at Valpo since the Crusaders joined the league in 2007. The Bulldogs have won three of their last four against the Ramblers.
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 on Sept. 18.
UP NEXT: Butler travels to Wright State Friday, Oct. 22 in next week's only outing. BU will head to Chicago to play Chicago State and UIC Oct. 28-29.