The Week Ahead: The Bulldogs take a brief break from Horizon League play on Friday (Sept. 28) when they host Chicago State beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler then welcomes first-year league member Valparaiso to town on Saturday (Sept. 29) for a 4:00 p.m. contest.
Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler carries a 7-7 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Horizon League play into this weekend's home matches against Chicago State and Valparaiso. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking third with 18.51 digs per game, fourth with 2.31 blocks per game and fifth with a .176 opponent hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks fifth in the league with 3.76 kills per game, while senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter leads the team and is third in the league with 1.13 blocks per game and checks in with 3.32 kills and 2.23 digs per contest. Butler has received significant support on both offense and defense from a trio of freshman in outside hitters Jessica Wolfe and Katie Daprile and middle blocker Jalesa Lee. Wolfe is third on the team with 3.28 kills per game and has added 2.89 digs per game, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 2.04 kills, 1.06 assists, 3.02 digs and 0.51 blocks per game. Lee has added a strong presence in the middle with 0.79 kills and 0.79 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile is the team's primary setter with 7.23 assists per game, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team and ranks fifth in the league with 4.77 digs per contest.
Recapping Last Week:
Sept. 21 - Milwaukee 3, Butler 0 (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Porshia Allen notched her fifth double-double of the year and the Bulldogs attempted to rally back after dropping the opening game, but host Milwaukee held off the Butler charge for a 30-18, 30-25, 30-12 decision at the Klotsche Center. After falling in the first game of the night, the Bulldogs came back with authority in the second game, reeling off 17 kills at a .261 clip and holding a 16-13 advantage midway through. The Panthers would chip away at the lead, however, breaking a 19-19 deadlock before pulling away for the 30-25 win. Allen finished with a team-high 12 kills, including eight at a .538 clip in the second game alone, while freshman Jessica Wolfe added seven kills and six assists.
Sept. 22 - Butler 3, Green Bay 2 (Green Bay, Wis.)
Three Butler players recorded double-doubles, including a match-high 21 kills from Michelle DeGeeter, as the Bulldogs rallied from a 2-1 deficit to claim their second Horizon League victory with a 24-30, 30-28, 26-30, 31-29, 15-12 decision over host Green Bay. The Phoenix had Butler down 1-0 and 2-1 during the match, but the Bulldogs answered each time before claiming game five for the victory. DeGeeter finished with her sixth double-double of the year on 21 kills and 12 digs, while Jessica Wolfe (11 kills, 17 digs) also added her sixth of the year. Katie Daprile tallied her third with 15 kills and a team-high 19 digs. Porshia Allen finished as the fourth Butler player with double-digit kills with 18, while Brittany Awai and Dana Daprile combined for 54 assists on the night.
Twenty-One Means Twenty-One: Michelle DeGeeter's 21 kills against the Phoenix on Sept. 22 were not only a season high for the senior middle blocker but also tied her career best single-match total. DeGeeter recorded 21 kills twice in 2006, helping the Bulldogs to a five-game win against Evansville on Sept. 2 and before recording a triple-double in a victory against Loyola on Oct. 20.
Keep Feeding The Wolfe: Jessica Wolfe has already proven to be one of the top newcomers in the Horizon League so far this season, ranking among the league leaders in kills with 3.28 per game, but she has also made her mark in Butler's record book as well. The Plainfield, Ind. native's 29 kills against Youngstown State are not only a single-match high for the Bulldogs this season but are also tied for the sixth-best total in school history. Kali Carter set the school-record with 32 kills against Western Illinois on Sept. 10, 2004.
Digging The Record Book: Junior libero Nina Inic has made a habit out of re-writing the Butler record book. So far this season, she has twice added her name among the single-match record totals for digs, tallying 30 in the season-opener against Jacksonville to tie for 10th all-time before recording 35 against Youngstown State to match the mark for sixth-place. Inic also holds the third-place total (40) and the ninth-place total (32), which were both set in 2006.
What Sophomore Slump?: Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen had a lot to live up to entering the 2007 season after leading the team with 315 kills and earning a spot on the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team as a freshman in 2006. The Indianapolis native has not disappointed, as she has already reached over 60 percent of her freshman total (192) with half of the regular season remaining. Allen currently leads the team and is fifth in the league with 3.76 kills per game.
DeGeeter Meter: Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter has been one of the best all-around performers during her tenure with the Bulldogs, but her blocking ability has her ranked among the best in the program's history. With her seven blocks over the weekend, DeGeeter moved past Stephanie Wesley for 10th-most all-time with 323 career total blocks. She also ranks 10th in career block assists with 280 and is 13 shy of Candice Washington's ninth-place mark of 292. DeGeeter leads the team with 60 total blocks this year, including 49 block assists.
The Double-Double Club: Four Butler players have registered double-figure kills and digs this season. Senior Michelle DeGeeter and freshman Jessica Wolfe lead the squad with six double-doubles a piece, while sophomore Porshia Allen has tallied five. Freshman Katie Daprile, meanwhile, has added three.
The Best Offense Is A Great Defense: Butler certainly took that idea to heart in claiming nine-straight games at the WVU Volleyball Classic on Sept. 7-8. The three opponents were held to a miniscule 0.99 attack percentage over the weekend, with each team having progressively less success as the tournament went on. After holding East Tennessee State to just .128 in the opening match, Butler held West Virginia to just .114 in the second before slamming the door on Indiana State to the tune of a .057 average. The Bulldogs' .176 opponent average on the year ranks fifth in the Horizon League.
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 third on the team with 3.28 kills per game and 2.89 digs per game.
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 7.23 assists per game as the team's primary setter and is third on the team with 30 total blocks. Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, has already made an impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second in digs per game (3.02), third in assists (1.06) and fourth in kills (2.04).
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).
Butler Volleyball On The Web: All of Butler's home matches for the remainder of the year can be viewed live online via Gametracker by clicking the link next to the match on the schedule at the bottom of the main page of www.ButlerSports.com. The matches can also be viewed through live video courtesy of the Horizon League Network by clicking on the "Watch" links on the volleyball schedule.
Up Next: Butler hits the road for the first of
six-straight matches away from Hinkle Fieldhouse, as the Bulldogs
take on Loyola on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time before
battling UIC on Wednesday (Oct. 3) at 7:00 p.m. ET. The week
concludes at Wright State on Saturday (Oct. 6) with a 4:00 p.m.