The Opening Serve: Butler kicks off the 2008 home season on Wednesday (Sept. 3) when it welcomes cross-town rival Marian to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a 6:00 p.m. contest. The Bulldogs then return to the road over the weekend when it takes part in the Kennesaw State Owls Challenge in Atlanta, Ga. Butler battles Austin Peay on Friday (Sept. 5) at 5:00 p.m. before taking on Loyola (Md.) and the host Owls on Saturday (Sept. 6) at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively.
Follow The Action Online: The final match of the Kennesaw State Owls Challenge pitting Butler against the host Owls can be followed with live statistics updates online on Gametracker by clicking on the Gametracker link next to the match on the schedule at www.ButlerSports.com.
A Good Start: The Bulldogs opened up the 2008 campaign last weekend at the Sun Bowl Volleyball Tournament in El Paso, Texas, and scored a pair of victories in three matches. Butler topped host UTEP in its first match of the year, claiming a 3-1 decision over the Miners on Friday (August 29) night, and finished the tournament with a dominant 3-0 sweep of NJIT on Saturday (August 30) evening.
Last Week's Results:
Butler 3, UTEP 1 - Friday, August 29 - El Paso, Texas
Sophomore Kelsey Labrum led all players with 17 kills and sophomore Jessica Wolfe and junior Porshia Allen added 12 kills each as Butler claimed a 3-1 decision over host UTEP in the first game of the Sun Bowl Volleyball Invitational. Labrum tallied a double-double in her first game with the Bulldogs, notching 17 kills and 12 digs, while hitting .302 in the match.
Oral Roberts 3, Butler 0 - Saturday, August 30 - El Paso,
Sophomore Jessica Wolfe tallied double-figure kills for the second-straight match, but Oral Roberts held the Bulldogs to just a .170 hitting percentage in handing Butler a 3-0 defeat in the Sun Bowl Volleyball Invitational. Sophomore Kelsey Labrum posted a .261 attack percentage (9-2-22), while Katie Daprile added a team-high eight digs each.
Butler 3, NJIT 0 - Saturday, August 30 - El Paso,
Butler made quick work of NJIT in its final game of the Sun Bowl Invitational, hitting .320 in the match while smothering the Highlander offense to the tune of a .070 attack percentage in running to a swift 3-0 victory. Sophomore Jessica Wolfe notched her third double-figure kill total in as many matches, leading all players with 18 while hitting .405 (18-3-37). Sophomore Kelsey Labrum added seven kills while senior Dana Daprile notched six at a team-best .500 clip (6-2-8).
Labrum, Wolfe Earn Tournament Honors: Following the final match of the Sun Bowl Volleyball Invitational, sophomores Kelsey Labrum and Jessica Wolfe were named to the All-Tournament Team. Labrum finished with 33 kills in three matches, including a team-best 17 against UTEP, while Wolfe totalled 41 kills with double-figure totals in all three matches.
A Look At The League Rankings: Through the first weekend of the season, the Bulldogs find themselves among the best in the Horizon League in several statistical categories. Butler leads the league with a .257 hitting percentage (135-47-343) and ranks third with 13.5 kills per set. The Bulldogs are also tied for second in the conference with 2.0 blocks per set and third with 11.6 assists.
Digging It: Sophomore Katie Daprile gave the Bulldogs some solid back row defense over the weekend, leading the team in digs in all three of their matches. She set a season-high with 17 digs at UTEP on August 29 before adding eight against Oral Roberts and 10 against NJIT.
Block It Out: Junior outside hitter Porshia Allen is known around the Horizon League for her dominance on offense, but her defense at the net last weekend has shown that she is much more than a one dimensional player. Allen finished the three-match Sun Bowl Invitational with a team-best 11 block assists, including a season-high six in just three sets against NJIT on August 30.
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 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.
Next Up: Butler returns to Hinkle Fieldhouse on
Tuesday, Sept. 9, when it welcomes Indiana State to town for a 6:00
p.m. match. The Bulldogs then hit the road for their final regular
season tournament of the season when they travel to Buffalo, N.Y.
for the University at Buffalo Ramada Invitational.