Fresh off a 20-win season last year, Butler volleyball looks to improve on the win total in 2017 as the Grizzlies open the regular season next weekend in Vernon, Texas.
Butler (20-13 overall, 6-10 conference last season) returns seven sophomores, including two players who earned All-KJCCC Division I honors. Libero/defensive specialist Abby Goodrum (Andover) was a second-team selection, while outside hitter Brooke Fender (Topeka) received honorable mention honors. Goodrum led the Grizzlies in digs (576, 5.01 per set) and setting (115), while Fender was the top hitter with 214 kills (1.93 per set).
Also returning for the Grizzlies are setters Andie Nibarger (Towanda), Alex Stiles (Denver, Colo.), middle hitters Aliyah Bernard (Wichita) and Jordyn Allen (Wichita), and outside hitter Nicole Klusener (Andover).
The Grizzlies, who finished in a sixth-place tie in the Jayhawk West last season, are predicted to finish sixth in 2017.
Butler opens the regular season against four Texas schools at the Vernon Invitational in Vernon, Texas on Aug. 25-26. On Friday, the Grizzlies will face Clarendon at 12:00 p.m. and Trinity Valley at 6:00 p.m. Butler will start Saturday's play versus North Lake at 9:00 a.m., then end the invite with a 1:00 p.m. contest against Jayhawk Conference foe Labette.
The Grizzlies will host 12 matches this season at the Power Plant, beginning with a conference contest agianst Barton on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. In addition to eight Jayhawk Conference home matches, Butler will face Friends JV (Sept. 18, Oct. 18) and Ottawa JV (Sept. 25, Oct. 17) twice at home.
Along with the season-opening Vernon Invitational, Butler will play in four weekend invitationals this season. The Grizzlies will be at McCook (Neb.) on Sept. 8-9, Dodge City on Sept. 15-16, and St. Louis (Mo.) on Oct. 13-14.