Bulldogs On Road At Charlotte, VCU

Bulldogs On Road At Charlotte, VCU
Brooke Ruffolo

2012 Butler Volleyball

Butler (11-8, 1-4) at Charlotte (8-9, 0-5) Butler at VCU (17-3, 3-2)
Thursday, Oct. 11 - 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 13 - 7 p.m. ET
Halton Arena - Charlotte, N.C. Siegel Center - Richmond, Va.
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The First Serve

The Butler volleyball team will be playing two teams for the first time ever this weekend when it travels to Charlotte and VCU. The Bulldogs are aiming to bounce back after two straight losses.

BU lost 3-1 on the road last weekend to its travel partner, Saint Louis. The Bulldogs won the second set 25-21 but SLU was able to hang on for its first A-10 win of the year. Three players had double-digit kills for SLU, while junior Maggie Harbison led all players with 14 kills. Sophomore Brooke Ruffolo had 24 digs (6.00 per set).

Sophomore Belle Obert (3.05 kills per set) and Harbison (3.04) are BU's leading hitters. Sophomore Erica Stahl is the A-10's second leading blocker at 1.46 blocks per set. Stahl has nine outings this year with 6+ blocks. She had a season-best 10 kills vs. Duquesne two weeks ago. 

Sophomores Brooke Ruffolo (3.33) and Jadyn Yarling (2.97) are Butler's leader in digs. The starting setter is junior Morgan Peterson, who averages 9.72 assists and leads Butler in service aces (22) and is third in digs (2.58).

The Bulldogs will start the weekend Thursday night against a Charlotte team that is 0-5 in conference play. When BU takes on VCU, it will be a showdown of the top two blocking teams in the league. VCU leads the A-10 with 3.06 blocks per set, compared to 2.96 for the Dawgs. Led by Martina Samadan (1.48 bps, .355 hitting), VCU owns the best overall record in the conference at 17-3. 

After this weekend's action at Charlotte and VCU, the Bulldogs will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse to host Xavier and Dayton Oct. 19-21. That is Homecoming weekend at Butler University.

THURSDAY-SATURDAY SWING: This weekend's set will be the only time this season Butler will play on a Thursday-Saturday. There are several Friday-Sunday weekends left on the schedule. 

TOP BLOCKING TEAMS: Saturday's match will feature two of the nation's top blocking teams. VCU stands sixth in the nation with 3.06 blocks per set. Only seven teams are at 3.00 or better. Butler is close behind, ranking ninth in the country with 2.96 blocks per set. 

IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Butler appears on the NCAA national leaderboard in blocks and aces. The Bulldogs are ninth in the nation with 2.96 blocks per set and 36th in the country in aces at 1.49. Individually, Erica Stahl stands 17th in the nation in blocks at 1.46 per set. Claire Randich is also in the top 100 in blocks (89th, 1.16). 

BUTLER ON THE BLOCK: The Bulldogs have four players (Erica Stahl, Claire Randich, Morgan Peterson, Maggie Harbison) who average better than 0.70 blocks per set. Butler owns an 11-4 record when winning the blocks battle. 

NICE TO MEET YOU: The Bulldogs will be playing both the 49ers and Rams for the first time ever. It is BU's first trip to North Carolina since going to Winthrop in 2009. 

YOU'VE BEEN SERVED: Butler continues to lead the Atlantic 10 in service aces. BU averages 1.49 aces per set, just ahead of Temple's 1.48 average. Morgan Peterson leads the team and ranks sixth in the conference at 0.31 aces pet set. Maggie Harbison is ninth in the A-10 with a mark of 0.29.

BIG HITTERS: Belle Obert and Maggie Harbison are BU's leading offensive players. Obert, who missed time due to injury in early September, averages 3.05 kills per set. Harbison has a team-best 213 kills (3.04 kills per set). Harbison owns five double-doubles and Obert has four. Obert's total of 19 kills vs. Coastal Carolina is Butler's highest single-match high this season. 

BLOCK LEADER: Erica Stahl, a 6-4 Indy native who transferred to Butler from Cincinnati, ranks second in the A-10 with 1.46 blocks per set. Stahl has posted 6+ blocks eight times this season, including two outings with nine blocks (at IUPUI and vs. SEMO).  

COMMON OPPONENTS: Charlotte and Butler have two common opponents, George Washington and Duquesne. BU split against those two schools, while Charlotte is 0-2. VCU and Butler are equal against their three common opponents. Both VCU and BU are 2-1 vs. Kent State, Duquesne and GW.

DEFENDERS OF THE WEEK: Claire Randich and Erica Stahl have each been named Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Week. Randich was honored on Sept. 10 after she led BU with 1.82 blocks per set as Butler went 2-1 at the Butler Classic. Stahl was recognized for her play at the Butler Invitational the next week, when she posted 1.79 blocks per set. 

5-SET THRILLERS: Butler is 4-0 in matches that last five sets, claiming wins over DePaul, Coastal Carolina, IUPUI and SEMO. Three of the four 3-2 victories saw Butler down 2-1 in the match only to come back to win. Butler led Coastal 2-1 before hanging on to win in five sets. 

SET AT SETTER: Morgan Peterson, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State, is the starting setter. Peterson is averaging 9.72 assists and 2.58 digs per set at the setter spot. In her Butler debut, the 6-0 junior was named MVP at DePaul and was also tabbed all-tourney at Pitt.  

LIBERO SOPHOMORES: Sophomores Jadyn Yarling and Brooke Ruffolo hold down the defense in the back for the Bulldogs. Yarling has started the majority of the time at libero. Ruffolo was a 2011 Horizon League All-Newcomer pick last season and was the libero starter last weekend. She had a season-high 23 digs in Butler's 3-1 win over Indiana on Sept. 8.