October 10, 2013

Volleyball Looks Ahead to Xavier Match

Twitter - @ButlerVB

Weekend Schedule
Friday, Oct. 11
Butler at Xavier – 7 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – Only one match appears on the weekend schedule for Butler as the volleyball team returns to the court after improving their overall record to 16-3 with three conference wins to start the month of October. The focus now shifts to Xavier as the Bulldogs will attempt to even the season series on Friday, Oct. 11.

About Butler (16-3, 3-1 BIG EAST)
Pink Weekend was a huge success for the Butler volleyball program as the team recorded three conference wins while wearing pink jerseys in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Butler knocked off No. 22 Creighton 3-1 on Friday and ended the weekend with 3-0 wins over both St. John's and Seton Hall. The victories moved Butler into the national spotlight as the team is now receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

A total team effort allowed Butler to go 3-0 last weekend as the Bulldogs posted high attack percentages against all three opponents. Morgan Peterson was recognized as the BIG EAST Player of the Week for her outstanding efforts. Peterson was one of six Bulldogs to record 19 kills or more over the weekend. She leads the team with 590 assists on the year, 136 of those assists have been recorded in the first four BIG EAST matches of the year.

Butler's balanced offensive attack has worked against BIG EAST opponents. Belle Obert has recorded 40 kills during the conference season and junior Stephanie Kranda has stepped up with 38. Erica Stahl and Mary Striedl give head coach Sharon Clark two more weapons to work with and the senior leadership of Maggie Harbison also comes into play as she leads the team with 10 service aces.

Obert, Harbison and Stahl have been great at the net defensively as each student-athlete has a double figure block total, and the back line has been steady as well with Brooke Ruffolo and Striedl handling the action.

Scouting Xavier (10-7, 3-1 BIG EAST)
The Musketeers are off to a 3-1 start to the BIG EAST season recording wins over Butler, Seton Hall and St. John's. All three wins were 3-1 decisions with the lone setback coming against Creighton (3-1). Xavier will play Butler and Morehead State at home this weekend before starting a four-match road trip next weekend.

Impact players for Xavier include Abbey Bessler, Alex Smith and Makayla Agin. All three student-athletes reached a double figure kill total in the first match of the season against Butler. Bessler led the way with 20 kills. She enters the weekend with a team-high 226 kills (3.53 per set) while Smith leads the team with a .422 attack percentage.

Aubree Smith is responsible for setting up the hitters as she leads Xavier with 701 assists. Defensive specialists for the Musketeers include Sarah Brown and Lauren Metzger who each have over 220 digs on the year. Alex Blair also gets involved as she leads the team with 68 blocks.

The Musketeers most recently defeated St. John's 3-1 to improve to 10-7 overall. The Red Strom avoided the sweep by winning a wild third set by the final score of 34-32. Xavier dominated the action early with a 25-11 win, yet sets two and four were close at 25-18 and 25-23.

Top performers against St. John's last Sunday include Bessler who ended the match with 15 kills and 16 digs. Agin and Alex Smith each reached a double figure kill total while Blair led the club in blocks with five.

Last Meeting
Xavier defeated Butler 3-1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sept. 27 (23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 24-26). Morgan Peterson recorded her sixth double-double of the year with 41 assists and 12 digs. She added a two blocks, two kills and a service ace to her stat line against Xavier. Additional Bulldogs that made an impact on Friday included Stephanie Kranda and Belle Obert who tied for the team lead with 12 kills each.

Kranda received extra time in the rotation to replace Kelly Kyle who missed the game with an illness. Kranda stepped up to hit .429 against the Musketeers, recording 12 kills on 21 attempts with just three errors. Obert also contributed in more than one way by recording a match-high four service aces and six blocks. The team's block leader was senior Maggie Harbison who ended the night with seven.

All-Time Series
Butler trails Xavier in the all-time series 13-11. The Bulldogs have not defeated Xavier since the 1993 season when they recorded a 3-1 road victory. The Musketeers swept the season series when each team played in the Atlantic 10 conference (2012) and they recorded a 3-2 win over the Bulldogs in the 2010 Butler Invitational.

Peterson Named BIG EAST Player of the Week
Morgan Peterson was named BIG EAST Volleyball Player of the Week after helping the Bulldogs post a 3-0 record last week with wins over No. 22 Creighton, St. John's and Seton Hall.

Peterson had a great week as she helped Butler win three matches on many different levels. The senior evenly distributed the ball with a team-high 95 assists, but she also contributed with 21 kills, 13 digs, six blocks and two service aces.

The week started with an upset win over nationally-ranked Creighton on Friday night. Peterson nearly posted a triple-double against the Jays going off for 47 assists, eight kills and eight digs. She posted a .333 attack percentage and also came up with four blocks in the four-set win.

With Butler holding onto comfortable leads against both St. John's and Seton Hall, Peterson split time at the setter position the rest of the weekend yet she came up with 20 assists and six kills against the Red Storm and a 28 assist, seven kill performance against the Pirates.

On the Attack
The Bulldogs posted the second highest hitting percentage in school history against St. John's last Saturday going off for 40 kills in just 69 attempts to post a .507 attack percentage. The team only committed five hitting errors as they swept the Red Strom 3-0.

BIG EAST Standings
1) Marquette, 3-0 BIG EAST, 10-4 Overall
2) Butler, 3-1 BIG EAST, 16-3 Overall
3) Xavier, 3-1 BIG EAST, 10-7 Overall
4) Villanova, 2-1 BIG EAST, 10-6 Overall
5) Creighton, 1-1 BIG EAST, 10-4 Overall
6) DePaul, 1-2 BIG EAST, 14-2 Overall
7) St. John's, 1-2 BIG EAST, 12-7 Overall
8) Georgetown, 0-3 BIG EAST, 6-10 Overall
9) Seton Hall, 0-3 BIG EAST, 5-9 Overall

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 112th, 1.33
Assists Per Set – 102nd, 12.25
Blocks Per Set – 11th, 2.84
Digs Per Set – 46th, 15.91
Hitting % - 23rd, .269
Kills Per Set – 99th, 13.25
Winning % - 22nd, .842

Individual National Rankings
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 144th – 9.52
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 56th – 1.23
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 142nd – 1.09
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 50th – 4.74
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 57th - .369
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 117th – 3.47
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 54th – 4.33

Double-Double Count
Belle Obert:
10 kills / 10 digs at Cincinnati
20 kills / 17 digs vs. IUPUI
14 kills / 11 digs vs. Eastern Kentucky

Morgan Peterson:
40 assists / 10 digs vs. Morehead State
24 assists / 15 digs vs. Tennessee
56 assists / 18 digs vs. IUPUI
49 assists / 18 digs vs. Illinois State
34 assists / 12 digs vs. Toledo
41 assists / 12 digs vs. Xavier

Mary Striedl:
10 kills / 10 digs vs. Morehead State
10 kills / 13 digs vs. IUPUI
17 kills / 20 digs vs. Illinois State

Season-High Marks Set during Pink Weekend
- Brooke Ruffolo scored two points vs. Seton Hall
- Morgan Peterson scored 10 points vs. Creighton
- Stephanie Kranda recorded 28 attempts and seven digs vs. Creighton
- Kranda tallied three assists vs. Seton Hall
- Belle Obert hit .692 vs. St. John's
- Erica Stahl recorded 13 kills on 22 attempts vs. Creighton ending the match with 15.5 points
- Mary Striedl hit .429 vs. St. John's

All-Tournament Team Selections
Cincinnati Invitational: Belle Obert (MVP), Morgan Peterson, Claire Randich
Arizona Classic: Belle Obert and Erica Stahl
Butler Invitational: Belle Obert and Brooke Ruffolo
Butler Classic: Morgan Peterson (MVP), Belle Obert, Erica Stahl

Randich Out for Season
Senior middle blocker Claire Randich will be sidelined for the rest of the season after tearing both her ACL and MCL in the home opener vs. IUPUI. Randich got off to a great start to the 2013 season as she was recognized as an All-Tournament Team selection in the Cincinnati Invitational. She recorded 26 kills, 14 blocks and five service aces before the injury occurred.

Up Next
Butler will continue to play BIG EAST opponents on the road after a 12-match home stand. The Bulldogs will face Creighton on Oct. 20 after playing the Musketeers on Friday and will end the month of October with road matches at Seton Hall (Oct. 25) and at St. John's (Oct. 26).