Bulldogs Face Road Trip To Pittsburgh

Bulldogs Face Road Trip To Pittsburgh
Maggie Harbison

2012 Butler Volleyball

Pittsburgh Invitational
Aug. 31-Sept. 1 - Pittsburgh, Pa.

Friday, Aug. 31 Saturday, Sept. 1 Saturday, Sept. 1
Butler (2-1) vs. Howard (0-1) Butler vs. Coastal Carolina (0-3) Butler at Pittsburgh (1-2)
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The First Serve

Coming off a successful season-opening weekend in Chicago, the Butler volleyball team will travel to Pittsburgh for three matches at Pitt. BU opens the weekend vs. Howard Friday, Aug. 31 and plays Coastal Carolina and Pitt on Saturday. 

After falling 3-1 to Indiana State in last Friday's season opener, BU bounced back for two victories the next day. Butler cruised past Eastern Illinois before finishing the weekend with a come-from-behind win in five sets over DePaul.  

Junior Morgan Peterson, a 6-0 athletic and versatile setter, was named DePaul Invitational MVP in what was her first weekend in a Butler uniform. The transfer from Middle Tennessee State averaged 8.83 assists, 2.42 digs  and 1.17 blocks per set. Sophomores Belle Obert and Erica Stahl joined Peterson on the all-tournament team at DePaul.

After one weekend of play, Obert is Butler's leading hitter with 2.75 kills per set, followed by junior Maggie Harbison at 2.25 kills. Harbison was an All-Horizon League pick a year ago. Stahl is the team's leading blocker (1.50) and sophomore Jadyn Yarling leads the Bulldogs with 3.00 digs per set.

Howard has played just once this season and was blown out by Rider. Coastal Carolina is 0-3 against some stiff competition and Pitt went 1-2 last weekend at Purdue, with both losses to nationally-ranked teams.  

BU is just 1-0 all-time against this weekend's three opponents. The Bulldogs defeated Pittsburgh back in 1996. Butler will be playing both Howard and Coastal Carolina for the first time ever.


OPENING ACTS: Morgan Peterson and Erica Stahl each set the bar pretty high in their first action wearing Butler uniforms. Peterson, a transfer from MTSU, was named MVP at DePaul after posting 8.83 assists, 2.42 digs, 1.17 blocks and 1.08 kills per set. Peterson also hit .310 for the weekend
from the setter position. Stahl, a 6-4 middle from Cincinnati, led BU with 1.50 blocks per set and added a .320 hitting percentage. Stahl had six blocks in each of the three matches last weekend. 

OPENING BELLE: After being an all-newcomer team pick last year as a freshman, Belle Obert started her sophomore year strong. The sophomore was tabbed all-tournament at DePaul, leading BU with 2.75 kills per set. She had a double-double in each of BU's wins, with 12 kills and 11 digs vs. EIU and 16/10 against DePaul. 

BU ALL-TIME vs. THIS WEEK: Butler will be meeting Coastal Carolina and Howard for the first time ever. BU has played once against Pittsburgh, defeating the Panthers 3-2 in 1996.

FOUR STRAIGHT WINNERS: Butler has posted a winning record in each of the past four years. The run of success started in 2008, when BU went 19-11.  BU won 21 matches in 2009 and 2010 before a 16-14 season with a young team last year.

TWIN TOWERS: Juniors Maggie Harbison and Claire Randich are in their third year starting in the middle for Butler. Harbison was an All-Horizon League selection last year after recording 1.95 kills, 1.16 blocks and 0.33 aces per set. She was second in the conference in blocks per set and third in the league in aces per set. Randich missed the early part of last season before rounding into form in October. She posted a career-high 11 blocks vs. Valparaiso and seven stuffs against Cleveland State last season. 

5-SET THRILLER: Butler finished the weekend with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over host school DePaul. The Blue Demons went up 2-1 before BU dominated the fourth set 25-14. Butler hung on 15-10 in the deciding set to pick up the road victory.

MARATHON SET: Although Butler handily swept Eastern Illinois, EIU made BU work in the second set. The Bulldogs led big early but Eastern Illinois came back and had set point five different times. Butler eventually held on for a 32-30 set win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

NEW COACHES: Butler hired a completely new staff  this offseason, adding Lenika Vazquez and Camille Gutierrez. In addition, former Indiana player Ivie Obeime has signed on as director of operations.

LIBERO SOPHOMORES: The youth of the team lies in the DS/L position, where three sophomores and a freshman will play this year. Brooke Ruffolo, a 2011 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team pick, and Jadyn Yarling see most of the action. Ruffolo averaged 4.44 digs per set last year. Yarling was the primary libero last weekend at DePaul.

NEW TERRITORY: This weekend's trip to Pitt will be BU's first voyage to the state of Pennsylvania during Sharon Clark's tenure. The last time Butler played in the Keystone State was 1994, then it played LaSalle  and Temple. The Bulldogs will return to Pennsylvania later this season should they qualify for the Atlantic 10 Championship, which will be  hosted by Duquesne.

LEAVING THE LEAGUE: The 2012 season is BU's first in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Butler went 34-14 and won the 2010 league tournament title during its last three Horizon League campaigns. That includes a 13-3 record in 2010 and an 11-5 mark last year.

NEXT WEEK: Butler will play for the first time at Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2012 next week, hosting the first of two invitationals. Western Illinois, Stephen F. Austin and Indiana will come to Butler Sept. 7-8.