October 14, 2008

Volleyball Heads To Valparaiso On Friday

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The Opening Serve: The Butler volleyball team reaches a slower portion of the schedule this week, as a Friday (Oct. 17) match against Valparaiso will be the only contest. The Bulldogs will take on the Crusaders beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Athletics & Recreation Center on the campus of Valparaiso.

A Great Start: The Bulldogs are off to one of the best starts in program history. Butler's 15-5 record is the program's best mark through 20 matches since the 1997 squad opened up at 17-3.

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 also held a Breast Cancer Awareness Day that coincided with their Oct. 12 home contest against UIC. Butler Athletics and the Panhellenic Council sold pink Butler Volleyball t-shirts during the match, with all proceeds benefiting the Side-Out Foundation.

Butler Volleyball On HLN: The Bulldogs' match against Valparaiso on Friday will feature free live streaming video on the Horizon League Network. Additionally, all of Butler's home volleyball matches can be viewed live online through HLN, with Cory Stark providing play-by-play. 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.

A Look At This Week's Opponent: Butler will take on Valparaiso for the second time this season after the Bulldogs claimed a 25-23, 25-21, 25-21 sweep of the Crusaders in both teams' Horizon League openers on Sept. 19 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Valpo heads into Friday's action with a 12-6 overall record and a 4-4 mark in Horizon League play. The Bulldogs hold a commanding 22-6 all-time record against Valparaiso.

Last Week's Results:
Wright State 3, Butler 1 - Wednesday, Oct. 8 - Dayton, Ohio
Porshia Allen and Jessica Wolfe notched their seventh double-doubles of the season, but Butler would fall short of host Wright State in the end, as the Raiders handed the Bulldogs a 25-15, 17-25, 25-19, 25-16 set-back on Wednesday (Oct. 8) evening at McLin Gymnasium. The two squads battled closely on offense, as Butler finished just two kills shy of the Raiders' total (52 to 54), but 25 attack errors combined with six blocking miscues proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. Allen led the way on offense with 13 kills and added 12 digs for her seventh double-double of the season, while Wolfe chipped in 12 kills and digs for her seventh.

Loyola 3, Butler 1 - Saturday, Oct. 11 - Indianapolis, Ind.
Jessica Wolfe finished a dig shy of her eighth double-double of the season and Melody Austin recorded career-highs in kills and blocks, but a steady Loyola defense proved to be too much for the Bulldogs in the end, as Butler fell at home to the Ramblers, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Oct. 11) afternoon. Wolfe finished with a team-high 13 kills on .321 hitting (13-4-28) and added nine digs and six blocks, which tied her career-best mark. Austin recorded a career-high eight kills while hitting a team-best .389 (8-1-18) and chipped in a career-best nine total blocks.

Butler 3, UIC 0 - Sunday, Oct. 12 - Indianapolis, Ind.
Porshia Allen and Jessica Wolfe each notched their eighth double-doubles of the season and Kelsey Labrum came just a kill shy of her third, as the Bulldogs used a dominating offense early on before riding their powerful blocking down the stretch in claiming a 25-19, 25-23, 25-19 sweep of visiting UIC on Sunday (Oct. 12) afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler registered 10 total blocks in the match, its 11th match with double-figure blocking totals this season. Wolfe finished with 11 kills on .391 (11-2-23) hitting and added 12 digs for her eighth double-double of the year, while Allen added 11 kills and 10 digs to post her eighth as well. Allen and Melody Austin each notched seven blocks, while Labrum finished with a match-high 14 digs and chipped in nine kills.

A Blocking Trend: The Butler blocking corps has shined all season long, as the Bulldogs have notched double-figure blocking totals in 11 of 20 matches this year, including 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' 189 blocks this season are over one and a half times the amount registered by their opponents (125). The start of league play hasn't changed the team's dominance, as Butler holds a 77.5 to 67.0 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 2.49 blocks per set and with a .217 hitting percentage. They are also second with a .154 opponent hitting percentage and 12.88 kills per set and in fourth with 15.89 digs per set.

Point People: The Bulldogs feature three players ranked among the Horizon League's top-10 in points per set, with Jessica Wolfe in third with 3.83 per set, Porshia Allen ranking fifth with 3.57 per set and Kelsey Labrum checking in at ninth with 3.37 per set. Butler is on the only school in the league with three players on the list.

More From Sophomores: Jessica Wolfe and Kelsey Labrum are the only two sophomores among the Horizon League's top-10 points list, with the other eight players listed currently in their junior or senior seasons.

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 10 blockers in the league play for Butler, with Porshia Allen in sixth with 0.99 per set and Maureen Bamiro in seventh with 0.94 per set. Sophomores Jalesa Lee (1.14 blocks per set) and Melody Austin (1.08 per set) also have impressive blocking numbers, but they fall short of the minimum sets played to make for the list. If they did qualify, Lee would be second and Austin would be third.

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

Next Up: Butler returns to Indianapolis next weekend when they welcome a pair of Horizon League schools from Wisconsin to Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs take on Green Bay on Friday, Oct. 24, beginning at 7:00 p.m. before hosting Milwaukee on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 4:00 p.m.