Bulldogs Continue Road Swing In Ohio This Weekend

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The Week Ahead: The Bulldogs continue on a six-match raod trip this weekend, traveling to Northeast Ohio for matches against Horizon League foes Cleveland State and Youngstown State. Butler takes on the Vikings on Friday (Oct. 12) at 7:00 p.m. at Woodling Gym before facing the Penguins on Saturday (Oct. 13) beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler takes a 9-10 overall record and a 3-5 Horizon League mark into this weekend's action at Cleveland State and Youngstown State. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking third with 2.51 blocks per game and a .163 opponent hitting percentage while placing fourth with 18.18 digs per contest. Senior middle blocker Michelle DeGeeter leads the team with 4.32 points per game thanks to averages of 3.47 kills, 2.34 digs and a team-best 1.21 blocks per contest. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen has continued to be an offensive threat, averaging a team-high 3.62 kills per game while chipping in 1.90 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 2.93 kills per game and has added 2.86 digs per contest, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 2.00 kills, 1.04 assists, 2.92 digs and 0.52 blocks per game. Lee has added a strong presence in the middle with 0.86 kills and 1.00 blocks per game. Junior Dana Daprile and sophomore Brittany Awai have split time at setter with the pair averaging 10.5 assists per game between them, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team with 4.49 digs per contest.

Last Week In Review:
Oct. 2 - Butler 3, Loyola 2 (Chicago, Ill.)
Freshman Katie Daprile and senior Michelle DeGeeter each tallied 20 kills and double-figure digs as the Bulldogs raced out to a 2-0 lead at Loyola before holding on for a 30-26, 30-26, 28-30, 28-30, 15-13 victory at Alumni Gym. Daprile put together her most dominant match of her young career against the Ramblers, hitting .300 (20-5-50) while adding 14 digs for her fourth double-double of the year. DeGeeter, meanwhile, hit .245 (20-7-53) in the match while posting 18 digs and seven blocks. Sophomore Brittany Awai registered her fourth double-double with 15 assists and 12 digs.

Oct. 3 - UIC 3, Butler 2 (Chicago, Ill.)
Porshia Allen, Michelle DeGeeter and Jessica Wolfe each posted double-doubles while helping Butler rally back from an 0-2 deficit to UIC, but the Bulldogs were unable to complete the comeback as the Flames held on for a 30-26, 30-22, 24-30, 15-30, 15-8 decision. Butler held a commanding edge at the net, totaling 15 blocks to the Flames' seven, and out-hit UIC .173 to .141, but the Bulldogs' 13 service errors to their foe's five proved to be costly. Allen led all scorers with 25 kills and added 17 digs, while Wolfe tallied 11 kills and a career-best 23 digs. DeGeeter finished with 20 kills at a .273 hitting percentage and chipped in 10 digs, while Jalesa Lee added a career-best nine blocks.

Oct. 6 - Wright State 3, Butler 0 (Dayton, Ohio)
Sophomore Porshia Allen notched her seventh double-double of the year and senior Michelle DeGeeter finished just two digs short of her ninth, but the Bulldogs were unable to fend off host Wright State as the Raiders scored a 30-16, 30-25, 30-25 decision at McLin Gym. The Bulldogs finished with 40 kills in the match, just eight shy of Wright State's final tally, but the Raiders out-hit Butler .248 to .095 to claim the three-game victory.

Block Party: Blocking has been a strong point of Butler teams in recent years and this season is no exception. The Bulldogs have out-blocked their opponents 183.0 to 147.5, a difference of 35.5 total blocks, while ranking third in the league with 2.51 blocks per game. Additionally, Butler's 31 block assists against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 ranks as the most in school history for a four-game match and the second-highest single-match total all-time.

Fast Out Of The Blocks: Freshman Jalesa Lee has emerged as one of the Bulldogs' most defensively-dominant middle blockers this season, especially in the past few matches. The Indianapolis native has averaged nearly 1.5 blocks per game in the last five matches, including eight total blocks at Loyola on Oct. 2 and a career-best nine at UIC on Oct. 3. Her 1.00 blocks per game are the second most on the team and are just shy of the Horizon League top-10 list.

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. Her nine block assists last week moved her past Chris DeWell for eighth all-time with 302 in her career, while her 351 total blocks places her in the Bulldogs' top-10 list and leaves her just 12 shy of Candice Washington's ninth-place mark of 363. Additionally, her 10 block assists against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 are tied for the third-highest single match total in Butler history.

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 at 2.98 per game and earning a spot on the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team as a freshman in 2006. There has been no let-down to speak of this season, as the Indianapolis native is well on her way to topping her rookie totals, totaling 250 kills and ranking fourth in the Horizon League with a team-best 3.62 kills per game.

The Double-Double Club: Five Butler players have registered double-figure kills and digs this season. Senior Michelle DeGeeter boasts a team-best eight, while sophomore Porshia Allen and freshman Jessica Wolfe have each tallied seven. Sophomore Brittany Awai and freshman Katie Daprile have also added four double-doubles a piece this season.

...Make That A Triple: Michelle DeGeeter did one better than a double-double against Valparaiso on Sept. 29, registering the Bulldogs' first triple double of the season with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 blocks. DeGeeter had Butler's only kills-digs-blocks triple-double last year, finishing with 21 kills, 11 digs and 12 blocks against Loyola.

A Wolfe Among Bulldogs: Jessica Wolfe has already proven to be one of the top newcomers in the Horizon League so far this season, averaging 2.93 kills and 2.86 digs per game, but she has also already made her mark in Butler's record book. The Plainfield, Ind. native's 29 kills against Youngstown State are not only a single-match high for the Bulldogs this season but are tied for the sixth-best total in school history. Kali Carter set the top mark with 32 kills against Western Illinois in 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.

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.

...And The Cougars Got The Message Loud And Clear: Butler amassed its most staggering defensive performance of the year against Chicago State on Sept. 28, holding the Cougars to -.046 hitting in three games. No CSU player had more than six kills as the Bulldogs held their foe to a season-low 24 kills in the match. Butler's .163 opponent average on the year ranks third in the Horizon League.

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: Following a stop at Valparaiso on Oct. 19, Butler returns to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time in over three weeks when they host UMKC in the first of six-straight home matches on Sunday, Oct. 21 beginning at 1:00 p.m.