2011 Butler Volleyball
The First Serve
The Butler volleyball team will bring its five-match win streak into its Homecoming Saturday showdown against league-leading Milwaukee. The Bulldogs have not lost since Saturday, Oct. 1 at Valparaiso. Saturday’s match vs. Milwaukee begins right after the football game at 4 p.m.
Butler is back in the Horizon League race after wining its last five contests. The Bulldogs enter the weekend 6-4 in league play, a half-game behind Valparaiso for third place. BU is coming off perhaps its best win of the year, a 3-0 victory at Cleveland State last Saturday. The Bulldogs hit .301 and had half as many attack errors as the Vikings in the win. Butler also defeated Youngstown State last weekend, improving to 23-0 all-time against the Penguins.
Milwaukee (17-4, 10-0) has won 12 of its last 14 and comes to Butler on a 10-match win streak. The Panthers, who defeated Butler 3-0 back on Sept. 23, are led by 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year Kerry Schuh. Schuh is averaging 3.63 kills and 2.69 digs per set. Rachel Neuberger is Milwaukee’s leading blocker (1.06) and Morgan Potter leads in digs (4.68). Milwaukee leads the Horizon League in kills and blocks.
Butler has found a balanced offensive attack recently, with four different players averaging at least 2.15 kills per set over the last two weeks. Sophomore Maggie Harbison has moved into the league lead in blocks and freshman Brooke Ruffolo was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week for her performances against YSU and CSU last weekend.
Following this weekend’s Homecoming match, the Bulldogs will play their final home weekend Oct. 28-29 Valparaiso and UIC come to Hinkle Fieldhouse that weekend. Butler’s final three matches are on the road.
BACK ON TRACK: Butler has won five straight since enduring four straight losses from Sept. 23-Oct. 1. BU defeated Wright State, Loyola and Green Bay at home in a week’s span before picking up road wins at Youngstown State and Cleveland State last weekend. Butler finished 4-5 in September but is currently 5-1 in October.
BU ALL-TIME vs. THIS WEEK: Butler and Milwaukee are meeting for the 43rd time, with Milwaukee owning a 29-13 edge in the series. BU and UWM split the season series in 2009 and 2010.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brooke Ruffolo earned the league’s defensive player of the week honor for the second time this season. Ruffolo averaged 5.43 digs in Butler’s road wins last weekend. She had 19 digs on Friday as BU defeated YSU 3-1. The next day, she added 19 more digs in Butler’s 3-0 win at CSU. She was also player of the week on Sept. 12.
ALL-TOURNEY DAWGS: Four Bulldogs were named all-tournament during the three weekends of non-conference action. Maggie Harbison was tabbed all-tournament at Notre Dame and Maureen Bamiro was on the all-tourney team at Portland. Brooke Ruffolo and Kelly Kyle were each honored after standout performances in Butler’s invite. Kyle averaged 3.90 kills per set during the event, while Ruffolo had 6.00 digs.
GETTING CLAIRE BACK: Claire Randich, a Horizon League all-newcomer pick last year, has been working her way past injury and back into the main rotation. Randich has missed 10 matches this year, but she has played extensively in the last three matches.
CLAIRE’S HITTING: Claire Randich hit .512 (24-3-41) in BU’s wins over Green Bay, Youngstown State and Cleveland State. She had eight kills in each of those matches.
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.
HOME SWEET HINKLE: The Bulldogs are 26-6 in their last 32 matches at Hinkle Fieldhouse, which dates back to 2009. BU was 9-0 at home in 2009 and 10-3 last season. Butler has won four of its last five at home.
SINGLE-MATCH HIGH: Gina Vera’s 45 assists against Austin Peay is the highest total in the Horizon League in a three-set match. Brooke Ruffolo owns the league’s single-match highs in digs for three sets (22) and four sets (33).
GET ‘MO’ BLOCKS: Maureen Bamiro, an All-Horizon League and All-Midwest Region last year, has moved into seventh on BU’s all-time list with 429 total blocks. She needs 27 more stops to catch Chris DeWell for for sixth.
AND ‘MO’ OFFENSE: Maureen Bamiro has increased her offensive production in Butler’s current win streak. She is averaging 3.53 kills per set on .390 hitting. She hit .588 (10-0-17) at Cleveland State.
GINA’S MOVING UP: Gina Vera is now fifth on Butler’s all-time list with 3,338 assists, recently passing current assistant coach Dana Daprile’s career total of 3,320. She is more than 600 assists short of fourth.
AVCA HONORS: Jessica Wolfe, now on the coaching staff as a student assistant, is one of only two Bulldog players to become honorable mention AVCA All-American twice (Areal Bienemy, 2003-04). Maureen Bamiro was also selected All-Midwest Region by the coaches association last year.