The Opening Serve: The Butler volleyball team opens the 2008 campaign this weekend at the Sun Bowl Volleyball Invitational in El Paso, Texas, as it battles the host Miners in a 9:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. MT) match on Friday (August 29). The following afternoon (August 30), the Bulldogs face Oral Roberts at 12:00 p.m. ET before concluding the tournament against NJIT at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Follow The Action Online: Butler's season-opening match against UTEP at the Sun Bowl Volleyball Invitational will feature live streaming video online and can be viewed by clicking the "Watch" link on the volleyball schedule page at www.ButlerSports.com. Additionally, all three of the Bulldogs' matches in the tournament can be followed live on Gametracker by clicking on the appropriate Gametracker link on the schedule.
Butler Tabbed Fifth In League Preseason Poll: The Butler volleyball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League in 2008, according to the league's preseason poll. The Bulldogs earned 31 points in the poll and finished just seven points behind fourth-place UIC (38 points). Cleveland State, last season's tournament champion, was the preseason favorite, garnering 64 points from a maximum eight first place votes. Valparaiso finished second with 56 points, while last year's regular season champ Milwaukee placed third with 50 points. Youngstown State (27), Wright State (24), Loyola (20) and Green Bay (14) rounded out the standings.
Bringing Them Back: The Bulldogs will have a lot of familiar faces in the lineup this season. Butler returns 11 of its 13 letterwinners and all but one of its starters from 2007, accounting for 78 percent of its kills, 86 percent of its digs and 74 percent of its blocks.
All-League Honors: Butler returns a trio of All-Horizon League players from 2007. Junior outside hitter Porshia Allen earned mention on the all-league squad, while freshmen outside hitters Katie Daprile and Jessica Wolfe nabbed all-newcomer squad distinctions.
In Their Defense: The Bulldogs finished as one of the top defensive teams in the league and in school history in 2007. Butler totaled 497 block assists on the year, finishing just two shy of tying the single-season record of 499 set in 1988. The Bulldogs' 296.5 total blocks also rank as the fourth-best single-season total, while their 2,114 digs rank eighth all-time.
Next Up: Butler welcomes cross-town foe Marian
to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sept. 3 as the Bulldogs host the 2008 home
opener beginning at 6:00 p.m. The team then travels to Atlanta over
the weekend when it takes part in the Kennesaw State Owls Fest,
battling Austin Peay, Loyola (Md.) and host Kennesaw State.