November 8, 2013

Volleyball to Play at Villanova and Georgetown this Weekend

Twitter - @ButlerVB

Weekend Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 9
Butler at Villanova – 6 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 10
Butler at Georgetown – 4 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS – Butler will play a pair of road matches this weekend as they travel to Villanova on Saturday to face the Wildcats and end the weekend with a Sunday afternoon match at Georgetown. This is the first meeting of the season for Butler against either opponent as the Bulldogs begin the road trip with a 6-4 record in the BIG EAST conference.

About Butler (19-6, 6-4 BIG EAST)
Butler split last weekend's conference series at Hinkle Fieldhouse by dropping a 3-1 decision vs. Marquette on Friday and winning a 3-0 match over DePaul on Saturday. The Bulldogs are now 13-2 in three set matches this season and an impressive 3-1 in five set games. The team posts a .500 record in four set contests going 3-3 this season.

Serving aggressive and playing team defense at the net makes Butler a tough opponent each night. The team has 122 service aces compared to just 89 from their opponents and the total blocks category is even more lop-sided at 258-136.

Senior Maggie Harbison helps Butler in each category as she leads the team with 26 service aces and is third on the team with 71 blocks. The team blocks leader is Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Erica Stahl who averages 1.34 blocks per set, giving her a grand total of 119. Belle Obert is also a huge factor for Butler in each match as she leads the team in kills (297), and is second in both service aces (20) and blocks (98).

A well-rounded rotation gives Head Coach Sharon Clark options on offense as Mary Striedl and Stephanie Kranda impact the team during each match. Striedl has 171 kills on the year to go along with 238 digs. Kranda has stepped her game up during the conference season as she enters the weekend with 167 kills, 55 digs and 44 blocks.

The BU offense runs through senior setter Morgan Peterson who provides the team with leadership. Peterson has a team-high 854 assists, 202 digs, 117 kills, 55 blocks and 14 service aces. Another specialist in the Butler starting lineup is Brooke Ruffolo who leads the team with 413 digs.

Scouting Villanova (12-11, 4-6 BIG EAST)
Villanova will host three BIG EAST matches this weekend as Creighton, Butler and Xavier all visit the Jake Nevin Field House. The string of home games for the Wildcats will be important as they enter the weekend in a three-way tie in the conference standings with a 4-6 record against league opponents. Villanova is 7-2 at home compared to 3-7 on the road, but this weekend's competition features three of the top teams in the BIG EAST with Creighton at second in the standings followed by Xavier and Butler.

Lauren Carpenter leads Villanova in kills with 329 on the season. She has exploded for 24 kills twice during the season with 24 in a four set match vs. Pennsylvania and most recently vs. St. John's on Oct. 18. Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Pethokoukis has also provided the team with a spark recently as she recorded a career-high 19 kills and seven blocks vs. Georgetown last weekend. She posted her best attack percentage of her career against the Hoyas by hitting at a .429 clip.

Emma Pettit sets up the action for Villanova as she leads the team in assists with 971. Pettit is second in the BIG EAST and 43rd in the country with an assists per set average of 10.79. Mariah Henley is another Wildcat nationally ranked in her respective category as she places second in the conference and 32nd in the NCAA with a digs per set average of 5.02 Both Henley and Pettit are nationally ranked in aces per set as the team ranks 44th overall and third in the BIGEAST with 1.50 aces per set.

Scouting Georgetown (10-13, 4-6 BIG EAST)
McDonough Arena will be busy this weekend as the Hoyas host three conference matches starting with a 4 p.m. game vs. Xavier on Friday, Nov. 8. The Creighton Bluejays will face Georgetown on Saturday and the weekend will come to a close with a 4 p.m. match between the Hoyas and Butler.

Georgetown has won two of their last three conference matches with a 3-1 win at DePaul and most recently a 3-2 win over Villanova on Nov. 2. The lone setback during that stretch was a 3-0 loss at Marquette. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Saar recorded a season-high 21 kills and 14 digs in the 3-2 win over Villanova. She came up big in the fifth set with five kills, no errors and four digs to help the Hoyas earn the win.

Saar leads the team with 300 kills on the year to go along with 304 digs and 35 blocks for a team-high 322 points. Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Danielle White is second on the team with 320 points. The senior has 249 kills, 97 blocks, 73 digs and 14 service aces.

Caitlin Brauneis sets the offensive pace as she leads the team with 899 assists and defensive specialist MacKenzie Simpson leads the team in digs with 324. Other Hoyas to keep an eye on include Alex Johnson who leads the team with 30 service aces and Emily Gisolfi who enters the weekend with 17 service aces and 131 digs.

All-Time Series
Butler holds the upper hand against each opponent this weekend with 1-0 lead over both Villanova and Georgetown in the all-time series. The 'Dogs beat Villanova 3-1 in the Oregon State Sizzler Classic during the 1995 season and a 3-0 sweep over Georgetown in the first game of the Maryland Invitational in 2004 gave Butler a 1-0 lead over the Hoyas.

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, 9-1 BIG EAST, 17-5 Overall
2) Creighton, 7-3 BIG EAST, 16-6 Overall
3) Xavier, 7-3 BIG EAST, 16-9 Overall
4) Butler, 6-4 BIG EAST, 19-6 Overall
5) St. John's, 4-6 BIG EAST, 15-11 Overall
6) Villanova, 4-6 BIG EAST, 12-11 Overall
7) Georgetown, 4-6 BIG EAST, 10-13 Overall
8) Seton Hall, 3-7 BIG EAST, 12-13 Overall
9) DePaul, 1-9 BIG EAST, 15-9 Overall

Team National Rankings
Aces Per Set – 84th, 1.37
Assists Per Set – 103rd, 12.34
Blocks Per Set – 10th, 2.90
Digs Per Set – 53rd, 16.09
Hitting % - 26th, .262
Kills Per Set – 82nd, 13.38
Winning % - 36th, .760

Individual National Rankings
Aces Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 30th – 0.41
Assists Per Set: Morgan Peterson, 131st – 9.82
Blocks Per Set: Erica Stahl, 27th – 1.34
Blocks Per Set: Maggie Harbison, 115th – 1.13
Blocks Per Set: Belle Obert, 135th – 1.10
Digs Per Set: Brooke Ruffolo, 57th – 4.75
Hitting Percentage: Erica Stahl, 147th - .322
Kills Per Set: Belle Obert, 150th – 3.34
Points Per Set: Belle Obert, 76th – 4.20

NCAA Volleyball RPI
Butler moved up to 39th 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. 11 and Creighton atop the league at No. 9.

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)
46 assists / 11 digs vs. Marquette (11/1)

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 vs. Marquette (11/1) - DePaul (11/2)
- Brooke Ruffolo had two kills vs. DePaul
- Morgan Peterson had two service aces vs. Marquette
- Maggie Harbison recorded five service aces vs. DePaul
- Belle Obert recorded four service aces vs. DePaul
- Erica Stahl posted a .727 attack percentage vs. DePaul (8-0-11)
- Erica Stahl recorded 26 attempts vs. Marquette
- Kristen Webb had three points vs. Marquette
- Kristen Webb recorded three service aces vs. Marquette

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 play at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the last time this season as the Bulldogs host Georgetown on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Senior Day will follow on Saturday as the volleyball team hosts Villanova on Nov. 16. Action is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m.