October 30, 2013

Bulldogs to Host Marquette and DePaul this Weekend

Twitter - @ButlerVB

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Weekend Schedule
Friday, Nov. 1
Marquette at Butler – 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 2
DePaul at Butler – 7 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – The month of November will begin with a BIG EAST showdown between Butler and Marquette on Friday night as the Bulldogs host the Golden Eagles at 7 p.m. Action continues on Saturday, Nov. 2 as Butler hosts DePaul at 7 p.m.

About Butler (18-5, 5-3 BIG EAST)
The Bulldogs are halfway through the BIG EAST conference season having played Xavier, Creighton, Seton Hall and St. John's both home and away. The second part of the conference season is on deck as Butler hosts Marquette and DePaul before traveling to Villanova and Georgetown. The top four teams in the BIG EAST standings at the end of the month will head to the conference tournament with the semifinals slated for Friday, Nov. 29 at Omaha, Neb.

Butler enters the weekend on a two-match winning streak after picking up a pair of road wins over Seton Hall and St. John's. The Bulldogs spent nearly the entire month of October on the road, but they begin the final month of the season at home where they have posted an 11-2 record inside Hinkle Fieldhouse.

A tall, athletic lineup gives Butler an advantage at the net as the team currently ranks third in the country with a block per set average of 3.02. Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Erica Stahl leads the team with 117 blocks on the year (1.43 per set). Stahl recorded her first two double-doubles of the season last week going off for 12 kills and 11 blocks against Seton Hall and 10 kills and 11 blocks vs. St. John's.

The entire rotation has the ability to impact games at the net as six players have 40 blocks or more. Belle Obert is second on the team at 93 and senior Maggie Harbison is sitting at third with 63. Obert is a triple threat that leads the team in kills with 278 (3.39 per set) and is second in service aces with 16. Harbison also impacts the game on multiple levels as she enters the weekend with 114 kills to go along with a team-high 20 service aces.

Morgan Peterson is in charge of setting up the Butler attack as she leads the team with 768 assists. An all-around talented player, Peterson also contributes with 186 digs, 108 kills, 52 blocks and 11 service aces.

Mary Striedl and Stephanie Kranda have been weapons for Butler throughout the season. Each player is near 150 kills on the year with roughly 40 blocks. Striedl is second on the team in digs with 224 and is third in service aces with 13.

Scouting Marquette (15-5, 7-1 BIG EAST)
The Golden Eagles are now receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches' Poll after sweeping Creighton last week to move into sole possession of first place in the BIG EAST standings. The team went 3-0 in conference action pushing their win streak to four matches as they improve to 15-5 overall.

Autumn Bailey performed well in all three matches last week and therefore was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this season. Bailey helped Marquette defeat Creighton, Villanova and Georgetown to improve to 7-1 in the BIG EAST conference. She posted a double-double in all three matches including a 13 kill, 11 dig performance against Creighton which moved Marquette into first place.

Elizabeth Koberstein was another impact player for Marquette last weekend as she helped the team hit .319 by averaging 12.56 assists per set. That total improved her league-leading assist average to 11.70.

Marquette's only conference loss of the season came at Creighton on Oct. 13. The team got revenge against the Bluejays on Friday as they swept Creighton 25-22, 25-18, 25-13. The Golden Eagles are battle tested as all four of their other losses this season have come vs. ranked opponents. The team lost in five vs. No. 13 BYU and was swept by No. 3 USC. Early season tournaments also had Marquette losing to No. 3 Penn State and No. 4 Florida.

The Golden Eagles are a disciplined team that leads the BIG EAST and are ranked 10th in the NCAA with a .284 hitting percentage. They rank 16th in assists per set (13.42) and 22nd in kills per set (14.18). Bailey is ranked 35th nationally in both kills and points per set.

Scouting DePaul (15-7, 1-7 BIG EAST)
The Blue Demons won 13-straight matches to start the season and a single-match victory over Green Bay on Oct. 15 gave the team a perfect 14-0 non-conference record. Unfortunately for DePaul, the BIG EAST schedule has been brutal as the Blue Demons enter the weekend at the bottom of the conference standings with a 1-7 record.

The Blue Demons will hit the road for a match at Xavier on Friday before visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday. Losers of four-straight, DePaul will look to serve aggressive to get some wins in conference action.

The Blue Demons currently lead the BIG EAST in service aces per set (1.65) and they are near the top of the conference in assists (13.06). They rank second among BIG EAST schools with a .267 hitting percentage and are third in kills per set (13.73). Defensive struggles have led to a 1-7 conference record as DePaul is next to last in the digs per set category averaging 14.43.

Vesela Zapryanova and Abbie Fleener each have over 200 kills on the year for DePaul. Zapryanova is also the team leader in service aces with 30. Natalie Rizzo, Colleen Smith, Tyler Graham and Allyson Rooks give the team a full arsenal of talented servers as the foursome all have nearly 20 aces. Smith sets up the offense with a team-high 795 assists and Rooks leads the defense with 302 digs.

All-Time Series
Butler holds the upper hand against Marquette in the all-time series as they enter this weekend with a 6-1 advantage. The Golden Eagles recorded their lone win over Butler in the most recent meeting taking a 3-1 home victory vs. Butler during the 2009 season.

The first meeting between Butler and Marquette was played back during the 1987 season as Butler opened the series with a 1-0 lead after defeating the Golden Eagles at the DePaul Invitational 3-1.

The all-time series between Butler and DePaul is tight as the Bulldogs cling to an 8-7 lead. Butler broke the 7-7 series tie with a 3-2 victory over the Blue Demons last year at DePaul. The first-ever meeting between these two programs was played during the1983 season. The Bulldogs pulled out a 3-2 victory in the five-set match.

Stahl Named BIG EAST Player of the Week
Erica Stahl earned her first BIG EAST Player of the Week honor on Tuesday as the middle blocker helped Butler record two conference wins to end the month of October. The junior recorded her first two double-doubles of the season in road wins over Seton Hall and St. John's.

In a 3-1 win over Seton Hall, Stahl recorded 12 kills and a season-high 11 blocks. She hit .375 against the Pirates and also added four digs. The Indianapolis native matched her season-high total with 11 more blocks the following night at St. John's in a 3-2 win. She reached a double-double by adding 10 kills.

For the week, Stahl recorded 22 kills and 22 blocks while hitting at a .381 clip. She provided the Bulldogs with 35.5 points and helped the team improve to 18-5 overall with a 5-3 record in the BIG EAST.

2013 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship
The 2013 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship will be conducted Nov. 29-30 in Omaha, Neb. The top four teams, based on regular-season conference records, will qualify for the event and will be seeded according to their finish in the league standings. The 32nd annual championship will be hosted by Creighton University at D.J. Sokol Arena. The champion receives the league's automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. 

DJ Sokol Arena (Omaha, Neb.)

Semifinals - Friday, Nov. 29

Match 1: No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed .................... 4 p.m. CT

Match 2: No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed ................6:30 p.m. CT

Finals - Saturday, Nov. 30

Match 3: Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner ....... 5 p.m. CT

On the Attack
The Bulldogs posted the second highest hitting percentage in school history against St. John's on Oct. 5 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, 7-1 BIG EAST, 15-5 Overall
2) Creighton, 6-2 BIG EAST, 15-5 Overall
3) Xavier, 6-2 BIG EAST, 15-8 Overall
4) Butler, 5-3 BIG EAST, 18-5 Overall
5) Villanova, 4-5 BIG EAST, 12-10 Overall
6) St. John's, 3-6 BIG EAST, 14-11 Overall
7) Seton Hall, 3-6 BIG EAST, 11-12 Overall
8) Georgetown, 3-6 BIG EAST, 9-13 Overall
9) DePaul, 1-7 BIG EAST, 15-7 Overall

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 130th, 1.28
Assists Per Set – 119th, 12.16
Blocks Per Set – 3rd, 3.02
Digs Per Set – 43rd, 16.10
Hitting % - 39th, .256
Kills Per Set – 107th, 13.16
Winning % - 34th, .783

Individual National Rankings
Aces Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 73rd – 0.36
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 145th – 9.60
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 14th – 1.43
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 105th – 1.13
Blocks Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 112th – 1.13
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 56th – 4.75
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 109th - .334
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 135th – 3.39
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 67th – 4.24

NCAA Volleyball RPI
Butler moved up to 43rd in the most recent NCAA women's volleyball RPI poll. The BIG EAST has two teams listed in the top 25 with Marquette coming in at No. 14 and Creighton atop the league at No. 7.

Double-Double Count
Belle Obert:
10 kills / 10 digs at Cincinnati
20 kills / 17 digs vs. IUPUI
14 kills / 11 digs vs. Eastern Kentucky
10 kills / 21 digs at Xavier (10/11)
13 kills / 12 digs at Creighton (10/20)

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 (9/27)
48 assists / 15 digs at Xavier (10/11)

Erica Stahl:
12 kills / 11 blocks at Seton Hall (10/25)
10 kills / 11 blocks at St. John's (10/26)

Mary Striedl:
10 kills / 10 digs vs. Morehead State
10 kills / 13 digs vs. IUPUI
17 kills / 20 digs vs. Illinois State
11 kills / 22 digs at St. John's (10/26)

Season-High Marks Set at Seton Hall (10/25) - St. John's (10/26)
- Brooke Ruffolo six assists at St. John's
- Stephanie Kranda six blocks at Seton Hall
- Maggie Harbison 14 kills, 17 points and three assists at Seton Hall
- Belle Obert four assists at Seton Hall
- Erica Stahl 24 total attempts, 18.5 points, four digs, and 11 blocks at Seton Hall
- Mary Striedl 22 digs at 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
The Bulldogs will play at Villanova on Saturday, Nov. 9 and end the road trip with a match at Georgetown on Sunday. The Wildcats will host Butler at 6 p.m. on Saturday while Sunday's game will be played at 4 p.m.