Bulldogs Face Valparaiso In Horizon League Championship On Friday

Bulldogs Face Valparaiso In Horizon League Championship On Friday

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The Week Ahead: Winners of five of its last eight matches, Butler heads into the Horizon League Tournament this weekend as the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4 seed Valparaiso on Friday (Nov. 16) beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. local) in the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee, Wis.

A Look At The Match-Up: Valparaiso claimed both matches from the Bulldogs during the regular season, with the Crusaders tallying 3-1 decisions in Valparaiso on Sept. 29 and at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Oct. 19. Sophomore Porshia Allen led the Bulldogs with 2.88 kills per game in the two matches, while freshman Jessica Wolfe added 2.50 kpg. Butler out-hit the Crusaders .158 to 148 and held a commanding 28.5 to 12.5 edge on total blocks.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler concluded the regular season with a 14-14 overall record and a 7-9 Horizon League mark after earning a five-game victory over Green Bay before falling in a close three-game set to Milwaukee. The Bulldogs have been one of the top defensive teams in the conference this season, ranking second with a .157 opponent hitting percentage and 19.05 digs per game and third with 2.64 blocks per contest. The offense has also come to life in the recent weeks, as Butler ranks fourth in the league with a .180 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Porshia Allen paces the team and ranks third in the league with 3.89 kills per game while adding 2.22 digs per contest. Senior Michelle DeGeeter continues to be one of the top middle blockers in the league, ranking fourth in the conference with 1.26 blocks per game and eighth with 3.25 kills per game while adding 2.64 digs per game. 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 2.67 kills per game and 2.53 digs per contest, while Daprile has excelled all-around with 2.27 kills, 1.01 assists, 3.06 digs and 0.59 blocks per game. Lee has added a strong presence in the middle with 1.12 blocks per game, the sixth-best total in the league, and 1.04 kills per contest. Junior Dana Daprile has been the Bulldogs' primary setter with 8.20 assists per game, while junior libero Nina Inic paces the team with 4.51 digs per game, the sixth-highest total in the conference.

Last Week In Review:
Nov. 9 - Butler 3, Green Bay 2 (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Four Butler players registered double-figure kills as the Bulldogs rallied from down two games to one and through five Phoenix match points to pull out an arduous 30-28, 31-33, 25-30, 30-24, 23-21 victory over Green Bay. Michelle DeGeeter notched her second triple-double of the season, posting 14 kills, a career-best-tying 23 digs and 11 total blocks. Katie Daprile finished with a team-high 19 kills and earned her eighth double-double of the season with a career-best 27 digs and finished just one block shy of her first triple-double with a career-high nine total blocks. Dana Daprile dished a career-best 60 assists and ended up just two kills short of her first triple-double of the year with eight kills and a career-best 23 digs, while Jessica Wolfe tallied her ninth double-double of the season, notching 10 kills and 13 digs. The Bulldogs also set a school record with 35 block assists in the match.

Nov. 10 - Milwaukee 3, Butler 0 (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Senior Michelle DeGeeter put together a strong Senior Day performance, notching her 12th double-double of the year, but the Bulldogs were unable to hold on to late-game leads in the first two contests as visiting Milwaukee claimed a 31-29, 30-28, 30-22 decision at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs had the Panthers on the ropes for most of the night, as Butler out-hit Milwaukee .239 to .238 in the opener and .289 to .208 in the second game despite falling short in both.

Butler Volleyball On The Web: All of Butler's matches in the Horizon League Championship 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 the "Watch" links on the volleyball schedule.

Just Like Butter: ...because Porshia Allen is on a roll. In the Bulldogs' last 10 Horizon League matches, Allen is averaging 4.50 kills and 3.12 digs per game while recording six doubles-doubles. She has tallied more than 20 kills in four matches, including a season-high 28 against Wright State. Allen leads the team and ranks third in the league with 3.89 kills per game and is fifth on the squad with 2.22 digs per contest.

...And She Is In Rare Company: With 405 kills this season, sophomore Porshia Allen is the first Butler player to surpass the 400 kills in a season since Areal Bienemy registered 428 in the 2004 season. Meanwhile, her 3.89 kills per game are on pace to be among the top-10 single-season rates in school history.

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. DeGeeter boasts 347 block assists in her career, moving her past Keely Norris for third all-time, and has 399 total blocks in her career, the eighth-most in school history. Additionally, her 116 block assists this season are tied for the seventh-best single-season total, while her 10 block assists against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 and Green Bay on Nov. 9 are tied for the third-highest single match total in Butler history.

Digging The Record Book: Junior Nina Inic is close to reaching one of the top single-season digs marks in Butler history. With 465 digs this year, Inic is just three short of passing Kali Carter for the 10th-best single-season total in school history. The Belgrade, Serbia native already holds the third (40), sixth (35) and eighth-best (32) single match dig totals in the Butler record book.

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 latter portion of the season. The Indianapolis native has posted five or more blocks in 10 of the last 15 matches, including a career-best nine both at UIC on Oct. 3 and against Loyola on Nov. 3. Her 1.12 blocks per game are the second most on the team and rank sixth in the Horizon League.

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 8.20 assists per game as the team's primary setter and is fifth on the team with 1.27 kills and 0.57 blocks per game. Younger sister Katie, meanwhile, has already made a huge impact in her first collegiate season, ranking second in digs per game (3.06), third in assists (1.01) and fourth in kills (2.27) and blocks (0.59).

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 2.73 kills and 2.51 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 a Bulldog 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.

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 285.5 to 219.0, a difference of 66.5, while ranking third in the league with 2.64 blocks per game. The Bulldogs have posted double-figure block totals in 16 matches, including five with 15 or more. Additionally, two Butler players are among the top-10 in the league in blocks, with Michelle DeGeeter ranking fourth with 1.26 per game and Jalesa Lee ranking sixth with 1.12 per game.

The Double-Double Club: Six Butler players have registered double-doubles this season. Senior Michelle DeGeeter touts a team-best 14 on the year, while sophomore Porshia Allen boasts 11. Freshmen Katie Daprile and Jessica Wolfe both have eight a piece, followed by Brittany Awai's five and Dana Daprile's three.

...Make That A Triple: Two of Michelle DeGeeter's double-doubles have actually been one better, as the senior middle blocker touts the Bulldogs' only triple-doubles of the season. The Warsaw, Ind. native finished with 10 kills, 10 digs and 10 total blocks against Valparaiso on Sept. 29 and went for 14 kills, a career-best 23 digs and 11 total blocks against Green Bay on Nov. 9.

Up Next: A win over Valparaiso would pit the Bulldogs against the winner of the quarterfinal match between host and No. 1 seeded Milwaukee and either No. 8 Loyola or No. 9 Green Bay on Saturday (Nov. 17) at 5:00 p.m. ET. The Ramblers and Phoenix face each other in the first round of the tournament on Thursday (Nov. 15), with the winner taking on the Panthers at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday (Nov. 16).