Bulldogs Return to Hinkle Fieldhouse to host UIC and Loyola
Oct. 6, 2005
ON THE HORIZON: Butler (7-9) returns to the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse, where the team has won 10 straight Horizon League regular season matches. The Bulldogs welcome UIC and Loyola for weekend matches. Butler and UIC tangle Friday night, while the Ramblers come to Indianapolis for a Saturday afternoon match. The Bulldogs enter the weekend as one of three teams at 2-2 in league play.
WEEKEND RECAP: Butler endured a tough weekend in Wisconsin, falling in three games to both UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee. Junior Susana Henri had 21 kills in the two matches and senior libero Megan Knightly posted 23 digs.
CAN YOU DIG IT?: Senior libero Megan Knightly had a career-high 41 digs in the team's five-game win over Youngstown State Sept. 24. The total was the second-best mark in Butler's 31-year volleyball history and just two digs shy of the nation's highest total this season. Over the weekend, Knightly became just the fourth Bulldog to pass the 1,500-dig plateau. She is fourth on Butler's career digs list with 1,503 digs and 134 digs shy of Laura Baire for the third spot. Jessica Taylor (1989-92) holds Butler's career mark with a total of 1,722. Knightly has earned Horizon League "Defensive Player of the Week" honors twice already this season.
LEADING THE WAY: Senior libero Megan Knightly, the 2004 Horizon League "Defensive Player of the Year," tops the circuit in digs per game with an average of 5.16. She also places second in the league at 0.38 service aces per game. Senior Candice Washington's 1.09 blocks per game average is good for seventh in the league standings. Thanks in large part to those two individual efforts, Butler is second in opponent hitting percentage, holding the opposition to a .181 mark so far this season.
WELCOME BACK ALUMS: With only a Friday night match against league travel partner Wright State next weekend, the Bulldogs will play an exhibition match against some of the program's former greats Saturday morning (Oct. 15) as part of Homecoming Weekend.
THE OPPONENTS: Both UIC (7-10) and Loyola (3-11) enter weekend action playing much better than their overall records indicate. UIC is the only undefeated team (3-0) in league play and has won four of its last five matches. Second-year coach Nancy Mueller has three players averaging well over three kills per game in Katarina Nedeljkovic, Maura McCarthy and Ambria Springer. Loyola's only loss in conference action (2-1) came at UIC last weekend. The defending league tournament champions have a new coach in Marcie Bomhack and lean heavily on last season's All-League performer Hilary Stromath (2.92 kpg). Butler has won five straight matches against UIC and owns a 20-11 record against the Flames in the all-time series. Butler and Loyola split last season's two regular season matches before the Ramblers downed Butler in five games in the league tournament. Loyola owns a slight 25-21 advantage all-time against Butler.
BULLDOGS PICKED SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL: Horizon League head coaches tabbed the Bulldogs to repeat their 2004 success and finish second in the league standings, according to the league's preseason poll released August 17. Butler's 38 total points were second only to UW-Milwaukee's mark of 49. The Bulldogs were picked to finish first prior to the 2004 campaign. Only five players from the 2004 12-member "All-Horizon League" Team return this season.
THE COACH: In her sixth season at Butler, head coach Sharon Clark has established the Butler volleyball program as one of the Horizon League's elite, while earning respect on both the regional and national levels. One year after posting her first 20-win season at Butler, Clark's 2004 Bulldogs registered the team's best winning percentage (18-10, .643) of her five-year tenure. In her five seasons in Indianapolis, Clark boasts a 90-76 (.542) record, including a 43-29 league mark. In 12 total seasons at three institutions, Clark's teams have racked up an overall record of 192-184 (.511).
QUICK HITS: Senior libero Megan Knightly has recorded double-figure digs in 45 of her last 46 matches. She ranked 25th in the NCAA in digs per game through the matches of Sept. 25 before narrowly missing the Top 30 nationally this week...Butler is finished with non-conference play this season after posting a 5-7 mark prior to Horizon League action began...Butler's home league action concludes early as the team will not be in Hinkle Fieldhouse at all in November. That sets Senior Day as Oct. 29 against UW-Green Bay. Seniors Megan Knightly and Candice Washington will be recognized prior to the 4 p.m. match that day.
UP NEXT: The Bulldogs host Horizon League travel partner Wright State in the team's only competition during the Homecoming Weekend. The Raiders come to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a Friday (Oct. 14) 7 p.m. match.
Horizon League Standings
Butler Statistical Leaders