Bulldogs Open 2011 At ND's Shamrock Invitational
2011 BUTLER VOLLEYBALL
Shamrock Invitational at Notre Dame (Aug. 26-28)
Friday, Aug. 26 - vs. Idaho 4:30 p.m. ET
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Saturday, Aug. 27 - vs. Eastern Michigan - 4:30 p.m. ET
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Sunday, Aug. 28 - at Notre Dame - 1:30 p.m. ET
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THE FIRST SERVE
Coming off a league tournament championship and NCAA appearance, the Butler volleyball team will open the 2011 season Aug. 26-28 with three matches at Notre Dame. The Bulldogs will take on Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame, respectively.
The defending Horizon League champion Bulldogs made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years after winning the 2010 Horizon League Volleyball Championship in Milwaukee. The No. 2 seed Dawgs took down Cleveland State (3-1) and Valparaiso (3-0) to claim the title. BU advanced to play national No. 14 seed Dayton in the NCAA tourney. The Flyers ended Butler's dream season that night in Dayton, but UD lost to Ohio State the next night in the second round.
Returning from last year's 21-10 team are four starters who were impact players a year ago. Senior Maureen Bamiro returns to the middle after a prolific 2010 season on both offense and defense. She ranked second in the Horizon League in blocks (1.11) and fifth in the conference in with a .289 hitting percentage. Bamiro was named All-Horizon League and AVCA All-Midwest Region.
Joining Bamiro are junior setter Gina Vera and sophomores Maggie Harbison and Claire Randich. Vera, who has started since stepping onto the BU campus in 2009, was named all-tournament in the league championship and is primed to be one of the top setters in the Horizon League. Harbison and Randich each earned Horizon League All-Newcomer Team status after starting as freshmen last season.
The Bulldogs are faced with the task of replacing two standout players in Jessica Wolfe and Katie Daprile. Wolfe was named All-Horizon League, AVCA All-Midwest Region and All-American honorable mention last season, becoming the second player in BU history to earn All-America notice twice. Wolfe finished her career third on Butler's all-time list in kills and fourth in kills per set. Daprile left Butler as the school's all-time leader in digs and digs per set, and she finished as the only player in league history to surpass 2,000 career digs.
Butler enters the year with nine new faces on the roster, including three transfers. Head coach Sharon Clark and her staff have brought in six freshmen (Brooke Ruffolo, Jadyn Yarling, Christina Saenger, Stephanie Kranda, Belle Obert and Kelly Kyle) in addition to transfers Chelsea Kirkpatrick (DePaul), Rachel Barber (New Mexico) and Casey Sines (Memphis).
Head coach Sharon Clark enters her 19th season as a collegiate coach and her 12th at Butler. With 177 wins at BU, she is now the all-time leader in wins at the school. Clark enters 2011 with a career mark of 279-263.
LEAGUE CHAMPS: Butler won the league tourney in 2010 and advanced to NCAA play for the first time since 1997. BU defeated UIC and Loyola en route to the '97 title. The Bulldogs then traveled to Nebraska and fell, 3-0, to Michigan State. Last season was Butler's second volleyball NCAA appearance in school history.
BU HITS ON 21: Butler has won 21 matches in each of the last two seasons. That's the most in a 2-year span since 1996-97 (54 wins). BU went 21-14 in 2009 and 21-10 last year.
GIVING 'MO' THIS YEAR: Maureen Bamiro, an All-Horizon League and All-Midwest Region last year, ranked in the Horizon League's top 10 in three different categories last season. She was second in blocks (1.11) fifth in hitting (.289) and eighth in points (3.40).
TOP COMPETITION: Butler played some of the nation's top competition in 2010, facing seven teams who finished in the RPI top 80. BU played Dayton (12), Louisvile (27), Arizona (38), SMU (45), Milwaukee (59), Xavier (61) and Baylor (78). BU's final 2010 RPI was 96.
AVCA HONORS: Jessica Wolfe finished her time at BU by capturing all-region and All-American status from the AVCA for the second straight year. Wolfe became only the second Bulldog player to become honorable mention All-American twice (Areal Bienemy, 2003-04). Maureen Bamiro was also selected all-region by the coaches association.
DAPRILE DIGS THE HL RECORD: Katie Daprile finished her career as the Horizon League's all-time leader for career digs with 2,009. She broke the HL career record of UWM's Lauren Felsing last year on Nov. 13. She's the only player in league history with 2,000 career digs.
LEAGUE HONORS: Jessica Wolfe, Maureen Bamiro and Katie Daprile each captured All-Horizon League honors in 2010. It marked Wolfe's fourth postseason award from the league. She was all-newcomer in 2007 and has been an all-league pick 2008-10. Freshmen Maggie Harbison and Claire Randich were named to the league's all-newcomer team.
TWIN TOWERS: Maggie Harbison and Claire Randich return after starting as freshmen last year. Harbison averaged 2.00 kills and 2.89 digs in 2010 while finishing ninth in the league in aces (0.25). Randich ranked third in the Horizon League with a .302 hitting percentage, and she was sixth in the league in blocks in league play (1.04).
GINA SETS IT UP: Junior Gina Vera enters her third season as the starting setter. As a freshman in 2009, Vera averaged 10.79 assists, good for sixth in the Horizon League and 44th in the nation. She finished last year strong, earning all-tournament honors at the league championship while leading BU to the title.
ALL-TIME WINS LEADER: With Butler's 3-1 victory over Loyola on Oct. 16, Sharon Clark became Butler's all-time leader in volleyball coaching wins. In her 11 seasons at BU, Clark owns 177 wins, surpassing former coach Sharon Dingman's mark of 169.
LONE SENIOR DAWG: Even with four returning starters, Butler is still a young team. Maureen Bamiro is Butler's lone senior this year. No Horizon League team lists fewer than two fourth-year players on its roster.