November 16, 2011

Bulldogs Head To Milwaukee For HL Volleyball Championship

2011 Butler Volleyball

2011 Horizon League Volleyball Championship
#3 Butler (15-13) vs. #6 Green Bay (11-17) 
Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 - 8 p.m. ET
 Klotsche Center - Milwaukee, Wis.
Live Stats  |  Live Video  |  Tourney Bracket 

MATCH NOTES  |  BAMIRO RADIO INTERVIEW

The First Serve

The Butler volleyball team will attempt to defend last year's Horizon League tournament title when it travels to Milwaukee for the 2011 Horizon League Volleyball Championship this weekend. BU, the No. 3 seed, will open against No. 6 Green Bay Friday night at 8 p.m. ET.

The Bulldogs, who won last year's league tournament in Milwaukee, are perhaps the hottest team in the conference right now. Butler has won 10 of its last 11 and finished with an 11-5 mark in Horizon League play. Butler has won five straight dating back to a 3-0 loss to Milwaukee back on Oct. 22.

Butler will play Green Bay for the third time this season. The Bulldogs defeated the Phoenix twice this season, including a 3-2 win at Green Bay on Nov. 3. Green Bay is led by all-league players Brittany Groth and Abbey Gitter.

Butler also had two players named to the 14-player All-Horizon League list. Maureen Bamiro and Maggie Harbison, two of the league's best blockers, were honored. Earning all-newcomer team status were freshmen Brooke Ruffolo, Belle Obert and Kelly Kyle

Should Butler get past No. 6 seed Green Bay, a potential match-up with No. 2 seed Cleveland State will be looming on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs and Vikings split their two meetings in the regular season, with the road team winning each time. BU and CSU met in Milwaukee during the league semifinal last season, with Butler winning in five sets.  

The winner of this weekend's Horizon League Volleyball Championship will advance to the NCAA Tournament. No Horizon League team has won a first-round match in the national tournament.


TOURNEY TIME: Butler finished the league regular season as the No. 3 seed with an 11-5 record. The Bulldogs have a 4-5 record in the league tournament as the No. 3 seed, dating back to 1995. Butler has won league tourney titles in 1986, 1987, 1997 and 2010. BU has an all-time record of 28-21 in the league tournament, which was first played in 1986. 

LAST YEAR'S TOURNEY: Butler captured the 2010 Horizon League Volleyball Championship, which was also played at Milwaukee. Butler, which was the No. 2 seed, edged Cleveland State in the semifinal to advance to the final against Valparaiso. BU made quick work of the Crusaders 3-0. Jessica Wolfe was named MVP of the tournament and Katie Daprile and Gina Vera were named all-tournament.

BU ALL-TIME vs. GREEN BAY: Butler is 30-8 all-time against the Phoenix, including two wins earlier this season. The Bulldogs have won eight of the last 10 against Green Bay, dating back to 2006. 

BU vs. CSU: A potential semifinal match-up this weekend could be BU vs. CSU. The Bulldogs and Vikings have been equal in recent years, including a split this season. Butler is 25-13 all-time against Cleveland State and has won four of the last seven meetings. Butler defeated Cleveland State 3-2 in last year's semifinal.

HOT STREAK: In Butler's last 11 matches (a 10-1 stretch for BU), the Bulldogs are holding opponents to .134 hitting. During the stretch, Butler is averaging 3.20 block per set compared to 1.61 blocks for its opponents. Also, five different players are getting at least 1.00 blocks a set. 

BEST BLOCKERS: Butler leads the Horizon League with 2.59 blocks per set, holding first over Milwaukee (2.41). In league play, the Bulldogs are averaging 3.00 blocks per set, nearly twice the total of their HL opponents (1.55).

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brooke Ruffolo has earned the league's defensive player of the week honor twice this season. Ruffolo averaged 5.43 digs in Butler's road wins at Cleveland State and Youngstown State. She was also player of the week on Sept. 12.

GET 'MO' BLOCKS: Maureen Bamiro, an All-Midwest Region player last year, has moved into fifth on BU's all-time list with 467 total blocks. She needs 22 more stops to catch Jill Spurgeon for fourth in school history.

AND 'MO' OFFENSE: Maureen Bamiro is leading the Dawgs and ranks 10th in the Horizon League with 2.80 kills per set. She is six kills away from 1,000 in her career. 

GINA'S MOVING UP: Gina Vera is now fifth on Butler's all-time list with 3,548 assists, recently passing current assistant coach Dana Daprile's career total of 3,320. She is 446 assists short of fourth on Butler's assists list.