September 4, 2007

Volleyball Heads For West Virginia Classic This Weekend

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The Week Ahead: Butler heads to Morgantown, W. Va. this weekend when it takes part in the West Virginia Volleyball Classic beginning on Friday (Sept. 7). The Bulldogs take on East Tennessee State on Friday at 5:00 p.m. before battling host West Virginia and Indiana State on Saturday (Sept. 8).

Previewing the Bulldogs: Butler will enter the West Virginia Volleyball Classic with a 2-5 record after claiming a win over Tennessee Tech in the opening match of the Butler Invitational last weekend. Sophomore Porshia Allen paces the team on offense after putting up two of her best single-match performances of her career in the past two weeks, notching 26 kills against Hofstra at the Orange and Green Challenge (Aug. 25) before tallying 28 against Tennessee Tech on Aug. 31. She leads the Bulldogs with 4.32 kills per game. Freshman Jessica Wolfe has consistently been one of the team's best offensive and defensive producers in her rookie season, ranking second with 3.22 kills per game and third with 2.89 digs per game, while fellow freshman Katie Daprile has added 1.74 kills and 3.19 digs per game. Senior Michelle DeGeeter has been the top blocker on the squad with 1.33 per game and has added 2.67 kills and 1.81 digs. Junior Dana Daprile and sophomore Brittany Awai have split time at setter, with Daprile averaging 6.12 assists per game and Awai totalling 4.73 per game. Junior Nina Inic leads the team with 5.48 digs as the top defensive specialist.

Recapping Last Week:
August 28 - Xavier 3, Butler 0
Porshia Allen tallied her first double-double of the season, ripping a team-high 12 kills and adding 10 digs, but host Xavier put the Bulldogs in a 2-0 hole before holding on for a close decision in the third game in claiming a 30-26, 30-22, 33-31 victory. The Musketeers used stifling defense to hold the Bulldogs to just 36 kills and a .083 attack percentage.

Butler Invitational - August 31-Sept. 1 - Indianapolis, Ind.
August 31 - Butler 3, Tennessee Tech 1
Porshia Allen made the Bulldogs' 2007 home opener a memorable one, breaking her career high for kills with a match-best 28 in helping Butler back from an opening game defeat to top Tennessee Tech, 27-30, 30-25, 32-30, 30-21, at the Butler Invitational. Jessica Wolfe notched her third double-double of the year with 14 kills and 19 digs, while Michelle DeGeeter finished in double-figures with 12 kills of her own.

Sept. 1 - Utah Valley 3, Butler 0
Butler was unable to solve Utah Valley, as the Wolverines claimed a 34-32, 30-18, 30-20 victory over the Bulldogs. Porshia Allen notched a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs, while Michelle DeGeeter had eight kills and a season-high seven blocks.

Sept. 1 - Northern Illinois 3, Butler 1
A late match rally by the Bulldogs in the final match of the Butler Invitational came up short of a comeback, as Northern Illinois hung on for a 30-22, 30-25, 28-30, 30-24 decision. Porshia Allen and Michelle DeGeeter each posted double-doubles, with Allen recording 15 kills and 13 digs and DeGeeter going for 15 kills and 16 digs.

All-Tournament Honors: Sophomore Porshia Allen and senior Michelle DeGeeter were both honored as members of the Butler Invitational All-Tournament Team. Allen came a dig away from notching three-straight double-doubles in the tourney while tallying a career-high 28 kills in the opening match. DeGeeter, meanwhile, added a pair of double-doubles in the three matches.

Off To A Great Start: Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen has been nearly unstoppable on offense to start the season, leading the team and ranking second in the Horizon League with 4.32 kills per game. In fact, the Indianapolis native is way ahead of her team-leading pace from last year, notching 108 kills through just seven matches. With only a quarter of the regular season completed, Allen has already totalled more than a third of her final tally from 2006 (315).

A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: It didn't take long for freshman Jessica Wolfe to get comfortable in the collegiate game. The 6-0 Plainfield, Ind. native paced the team with 18 kills in her first college match against Jacksonville on Aug. 24 in helping the Bulldogs to their first win of the season. She followed up that performance with back-to-back double-doubles against Hofstra and Miami on Aug. 25, including another 18-kill performance against the Pride. She currently ranks second on the team with 3.22 kills per game and third with 2.89 digs per game.

Dealing Aces: The Bulldogs certainly had a few aces up their sleeves against Jacksonville on Aug. 24; fourteen of them, to be exact. Butler's total is a single-match high in the Horizon League this year and was just three shy of tying the school record of 17, set against both Western Illinois and Xavier in 1990. Junior Chloe' Blasingame paced the team with a career-high five aces, while junior Dana Daprile tied her career mark with four.

Digging The Record Book: With her 30 digs against Jacksonville on Aug. 24, junior Nina Inic etched her name into the Butler record book, tying for the ninth-most in a single match. This is nothing new to the Belgrade, Serbia native, however, as Inic essentially re-wrote the single-match records for digs last season. Three of the top eight single-match marks in Butler history were registered by the defensive specialist in 2006, including a career-high 40 digs against Green Bay for the third-highest total all-time. Meanwhile, her 35 digs at Green Bay rank sixth-most, while her 32 against Loyola are eighth-most.

Double Trouble: The rest of the Horizon League already had their hands full trying to contain one Daprile, and now they have twice as much to contend with. Older sister Dana leads the squad with 6.12 assists per game as the team's primary setter and is second on the team in blocks per game (0.73). Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, has already made an impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second in digs per game (3.19), third in assists (1.15) and fourth in kills (1.74).

Home Sweet Home: After criss-crossing the Midwest for much of October, the Bulldogs will spend the final three weeks of the season playing in the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse. Following a three-week, six-match road trip that takes the Bulldogs through Chicago, Dayton, Cleveland, Youngstown and Valparaiso, Butler returns home on Oct. 21 to host non-conference foe UMKC. From there, the Bulldogs welcome Wright State (Oct. 26), UIC (Nov. 2) and Loyola (Nov. 3) to Indianapolis before closing the regular season the following weekend by hosting Green Bay (Nov. 9) and Milwaukee (Nov. 10).

Up Next: After concluding tournament play in West Virginia, the Bulldogs open up both the dual meet slate and the Horizon League season next weekend when they welcome Youngstown State to Indianapolis on Sept. 14 at 7:00 p.m. Butler then hosts Cleveland State at Hinkle Fieldhouse the following afternoon (Sept. 15) at 4:00 p.m.