Bulldogs make early mark in Atlantic 10

Butler athletes are already making a mark on the Atlantic 10 Conference, picking up various conference awards.

At the end of each week of athletic events, the A-10 produces a list of awards, including Athlete of the Week and Rookie of the Week.

Each of the A-10 schools sends in a nominee from each sport, for each award.

The A-10 communications staff takes a list of nominations and reviews the nominees based on a large number of factors, including stats, accomplishments, team performance and quality of opponents.

The staff then sits down and selects the winner for each award.

“Our goal is always to honor the most outstanding student-athletes from that week’s events,” said Drew Dickerson, director of media relations and communications for the A-10. “It’s often a difficult decision based on the quality of athletes and successful programs in the Atlantic 10 Conference.”

With A-10 conference play under way for many Butler sports, athletes have already started raking in conference honors.

Junior middle blocker Claire Randich was named the Defensive Player of the Week for the Butler volleyball team for the week of Sept. 4 through 9.

Randich led the Bulldogs with 1.82 blocks per set as Butler went 2-1 at the Butler Classic. She started the tournament with six blocks while also hitting .389 in a 3-0 win over Western Illinois.

After getting five blocks against Stephen F. Austin, Randich made nine stops, two of which were solo, in a 3-1 win over Indiana.

Another award winner was sophomore volleyball player Erica Stahl, earning the league’s Defensive Player of the Week award for the week of Sept. 11 through 16.

During the four matches that week, Stahl totaled 25 blocks for the Bulldogs. She had five blocks in a 3-0 blowout of Wright State. Stahl then blocked nine more balls at the net in a 3-2 win over Southeast Missouri State.

That same evening she had five blocks in a loss to California-Davis. Stahl then finished off the week with six blocks to help Butler beat Kent State 3-0.

“It makes it exciting for us to know that the bar is being raised and we’re going to step up and meet that challenge,” Butler volleyball coach Sharon Clark said. “Our goal is to go out there and compete at the highest level we can.”

Freshman forward Sophie Maccagnone was also able to pick up the Rookie of the Week award in two consecutive weeks for the Butler women’s soccer team for the weeks of Sept. 12 through 16 and Sept. 18 through 23.

Maccagnone scored five goals over the course of three games in which the Bulldogs went 3-0.

“I was able to get those chances mainly because my teammates were making them possible,” Maccagnone said. “I knew my team had confidence in me, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t disappoint my teammates.”

Freshman goalkeeper Mackenzie Hopkins has also represented the women’s soccer team as A-10 Rookie of the Week, for her play from Aug. 29 through Sept. 3

Hopkins had two shutouts against Purdue and Tennessee-Martin. Her five saves against Purdue led the Bulldogs to their first ever win against the Boilermakers and their first win over a Big Ten opponent since 2008.

Junior Katie Clark and freshman Olivia Pratt of the Butler women’s cross country team have been recognized by the A-10 for their performances this season at the Toledo Bubble Buster, helping lift Butler into the national rankings last week.

Clark was named A-10 Women’s Performer of the Week while Pratt was tabbed A-10 Women’s Rookie of the Week for the week of Sept. 17 through 23.

Clark won the individual title and led Butler to the team title at the 14-team Bubble Buster, which featured four  nationallly ranked teams.

She covered the 4-kilometer course in 13:04, finishing 15 seconds ahead of the second-place runner from nationally-ranked Syracuse.  The race was Clark’s first in more than a year after she sat out last season as a redshirt.

Pratt came in fourth for the Bulldogs and 13th overall at the Toledo meet. This Rookie of the Week award is the second for Pratt. Pratt was named Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Rookie of the Week for the first week of the season on Sept. 4.

Every A-10 school has received at least one weekly honor so far this fall. Duquesne has the most with 13 total awards and Dayton is second with 11.  Butler has a total of eight A-10 honors.

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