September 29, 2008

Volleyball Returns Home To Host Youngstown State, Cleveland State

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The Opening Serve: Butler returns to Hinkle Fieldhouse this weekend when it hosts a pair of Horizon League opponents. The Bulldogs battle Youngstown State on Friday (Oct. 3) at 7:00 p.m. before taking on Cleveland State on Saturday (Oct. 4) beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Butler Volleyball On HLN: All of Butler's home volleyball matches can be viewed live online for free through the Horizon League Network, with Cory Stark providing play-by-play for the Bulldogs this season. The games can be viewed by clicking on the "Watch on HLN" link next to the match on the volleyball schedule at www.ButlerSports.com.

Dig Pink: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Butler volleyball team will be promoting awareness by wearing pink warm-ups prior to all of their October home matches. The Bulldogs will also hold a Breast Cancer Awareness Day at their Oct. 12 match against UIC. Butler Athletics and the Panhellenic Council will sell pink Butler Volleyball t-shirts, with all proceeds benefiting the Side-Out Foundation. T-shirts can also be pre-ordered at this weekend's matches against YSU and CSU and will be available at Atherton Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the week of Oct. 6.

A Great Start: The Bulldogs are off to one of the best starts in program history. Butler's 12-3 record is the program's best mark through 15 matches since the 1997 squad opened up at 13-2. The mark is also tied with the 1988 team for the second-best 15-match record in program history.

A Look At This Week's Opponents: Youngstown State comes to Indianapolis this weekend with an 8-5 record overall and a 1-2 mark in league play after falling in five sets at Wright State on Sept. 27. Friday's match-up will be the 16th meeting between the two programs, with the Bulldogs holding a perfect 15-0 record all time against the Penguins. Cleveland State, meanwhile, heads into an Oct. 4 match at Valparaiso with a 2-10 overall record and a 1-3 mark in league play after falling to WSU on Sept. 26. The Bulldogs are 20-9 against the Vikings all time, including a dominant 12-2 record when playing in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Last Week's Results:
Milwaukee 3, Butler 1 - Friday, Sept. 26 - Milwaukee, Wis.
Butler totaled double-figure blocks in its eighth match of the year, but the steady defense would not be enough as host Milwaukee held off the Bulldogs, 25-16, 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, at the Klotsche Center on Sept. 26 evening. Dana Daprile finished with a team-best seven kills and 23 assists, while Jalesa Lee added six kills and a team-high five block assists. The Bulldogs finished with 10 blocks in the match, the seventh-straight match with at least nine blocks by the team.

Butler 3, Green Bay 2 - Saturday, Sept. 27 - Green Bay, Wis.
Kelsey Labrum tallied 20 kills and both Porshia Allen and Jessica Wolfe recorded double-doubles as the Bulldogs rallied from down 2-1 in the match for a grueling 26-24, 16-25, 19-25, 25-19, 19-17 victory at the Kress Center on Sept. 27 afternoon. Labrum finished tied for the match-high with 20 kills, tying for the Bulldogs' season best mark. Wolfe added 14 kills and a 20 digs for her fifth double-double of the year, while Allen chipped in 13 kills and 15 digs for her fifth. For the eighth-straight match, the Bulldogs finished with nine or more blocks as a team, totaling nine against the Phoenix.

A Blocking Trend: The Butler blocking corps has shined in the early going, as the Bulldogs have notched double-figure blocking totals in eight of 15 matches this year, including nine or more in the last eight and a season-high 14 against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

...And A Blocking Advantage: Butler's blocking stats are even more impressive when comparing them to their opponents' totals. The Bulldogs' 141.5 blocks this season are nearly twice the amount registered by their opponents (75.0). The start of league play hasn't changed the team's dominance, as Butler holds a 30 to 17 edge on blocking against conference foes.

Butler In The League Rankings: Butler finds itself ranked among the Horizon League's best in several statistical categories. The Bulldogs lead the league with 2.48 blocks per set and are second with a .150 opponent hitting percentage. Butler also finds itself in third with 12.67 kills per set and a .221 hitting percentage and ranks fourth with 11.33 assists and 15.28 digs per set.

A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Wolfe has been the Bulldogs' leading offensive threat this season. Her 3.33 kills per set pace the team and are the third-most among all Horizon League players.

Block Party: It should come as no surprise that the Bulldogs lead the league in blocks because they have some of the best middle blockers in the conference. In fact, two of the top five blockers in the league play for Butler, with Jalesa Lee pacing the league with 1.16 blocks per set and Porshia Allen in fourth with 1.05 per set.

More From Sophomores: Butler has gotten quite a bit of production from sophomores Jessica Wolfe and Kelsey Labrum, with Wolfe ranking third in the Horizon League with 3.74 points per set and Labrum adding 3.37 points per set. In fact, the two Bulldogs are the only two players on the top-10 list who have not yet reached their junior season.

Offensive-Minded Setter: Dana Daprile has quite a knack for helping her teammates register kills, as the senior setter ranks third in the Horizon League with 8.61 assists per set. But she isn't afraid to take matters into her own hands either, and has had a lot of success as well. Daprile currently ranks third in the conference with a .294 hitting percentage (85-26-201).

Double-Trouble: Four Butler players have registered double-doubles on the year. Junior Porshia Allen and sophomore Jessica Wolfe have each notched five double-doubles with kills and digs, while sophomore Kelsey Labrum has added two. Senior Dana Daprile, meanwhile, boasts one with assists and digs.

All Good Streaks Must Come To An End: Butler's nine-match winning streak came to an end when IUPUI handed the Bulldogs a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 16. The streak was the program's longest since the 1997 season when the Bulldogs opened the year with 11 wins in a row. The 1986 squad set the school record with 15 straight victories.

Anatomy Of A Winning Streak: It should come as no surprise that Butler's nine-match winning streak featured some impressive statistics. During the trek, the Bulldogs fell in only six of 33 sets while delivering sweeps in four contests. Additionally, Butler held a commanding edge in both offense and defense, out-hitting its opponents .256 to .122 and registering 2.80 blocks per set to its foes' 1.15 per set. The Bulldogs also picked up tournament championships in both the Kennesaw State Owls Challenge and in the Buffalo Ramada Invitational.

Lee Earns Butler's First League Honor: After leading the Bulldogs with 1.62 blocks per set and notching a career-high for blocks in a match, sophomore Jalesa Lee was named the Horizon League's Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 15. Following a four-block performance against Indiana State on Sept. 9, Lee went for a career-best 10 block assists in the first match of the Buffalo Ramada Invitational against Maryland-Eastern Shore. In the final two bouts of the tournament against Maine and the host Bulls, she registered six total blocks in each match to help Butler to the tournament championship. Lee is the first Butler player to earn a weekly honor from the league this season.

Next Up: Butler hits a busy stretch in the schedule next week as the Bulldogs will play three matches in a five-day span. The Bulldogs head to Dayton, Ohio on Oct. 8 to take on Wright State before returning to Indianapolis over the weekend for matches against Loyola (Oct. 11) and UIC (Oct. 12).