The Butler volleyball and football teams have experienced great success this year, thanks in part to contributions from three transfer athletes.
Volleyball players Morgan Peterson and Erica Stahl and quarterback Matt Lancaster have helped lead their teams to conference tournament berths and a share of the conference title, respectively.
Peterson, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State University, is in her first season as a member of the Butler volleyball team.
Early in the year, she was named most valuable player at the DePaul Invitational and made the All-Tournament team at the Pittsburgh Invitational.
“The one intangible that Morgan brings to the team is her competitiveness,” Clark said. “It’s pro level in terms of how competitive of a player she is, and that’s been a great addition for us.”
Peterson has also made strides in her offensive play. Her hitting percentage ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
As a junior, Peterson is one of the older players on the team. Peterson said she has experienced a major role change since coming to Butler.
“Here at Butler, I’m pretty much the oldest except for Rachel (Barber) so I have more experience and I am leading the other people instead of following,” Peterson said.
Stahl transferred from University of Cincinnati last year.
The junior was recruited by Clark out of high school but chose Cincinnati over Butler. In an earlier interview, Stahl said she chose to come to Butler because of her respect for Clark and the rest of the coaching staff.
Stahl has had a dominant seson, especially in blocking. Her strong play has led to a team-high 153 blocks. This mark puts her second in the A-10 and 13th nationally.
“I’m here mostly just to keep the ball off the floor on our side and help out our defenders as much as possible,” Stahl said.
Similar to Peterson, Clark said Stahl is a fierce competitor.
“The thing that I think Erica will continue to get better at is being more of an offensive threat,” Clark said. “She’ll be a great blocker, but she will be able to raise the level of her hitting and make her more dominant.
“I think that (Stahl and Peterson) are both top all-conference players, and they will be next year.”
Peterson and Stahl have helped lead the volleyball team to a berth in the A-10 tournament.
The tournament will take place at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where the Bulldogs will face Virginia Commonwealth Friday evening.
Junior Lancaster transferred from Illinois State University, where he played 16 games in two seasons of football.
He had a full ride scholarship to play at ISU but said it was not the right atmosphere and decided it was time for a change.
Butler was one of Lancaster’s options when he was in high school. Upon leaving ISU, he contacted head coach Jeff Voris, and two days later Voris said he was interested in having Lancaster on the team.
Lancaster redshirted last year when he transferred to Butler. He has one more year of eligibility remaining.
Lancaster led the team to at least a share of the Pioneer Football League title, compiling a 7-1 conference record and 8-3 overall mark. Coach Jeff Voris said Lancaster has been a big help to the program.
“He’s been a great teammate and a heck of a football player,” Voris said. “He has all the intangible qualities that you look for in a quarterback.”
Lancaster recorded several strong statistics this season. He completed over 60 percent of his passes for more than 2,700 yards. He has thrown 21 touchdowns to only three interceptions.
Voris said Lancaster’s work ethic has been a key to his success.
“What he brings to the team is a guy who loves football and (he) has a work ethic that’s unmatched,” Voris said. “He constantly works at his game and week-to-week gets better.”
Voris also lauded Lancaster’s enthusiasm and leadership.
“He’s enthusiastic about practice and games, and no question he’s been a big addition to our program,” Voris said.
Lancaster was effective running the ball, too. His 408 rushing yards is second only to starting running back Trae Heeter. Lancaster averaged over 37 yards per game and tallied eight touchdowns on the ground.
“I’ve always been kind of a dual-threat quarterback,” Lancaster said. “I think coach liked that part of me, and I like running the ball too.”
Lancaster was a part of many major plays throughout the season.
He threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to cap a dramatic comeback against Morehead State.
He also commanded a 95-yard game-winning drive against Jacksonville and scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-and-goal with two seconds left.
“It was surreal,” Lancaster said. “To go 95 yards in the hail and on fourth-and-goal, to have coach call my number, it shows a lot about him.”
With the win over Jacksonville, the Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the Pioneer Football League title.
Despite losing to Drake last weekend, Lancaster said he will always remember the successes of the team this year.
“I hated losing and everything, but when we’re out of school 20 to 25 years, what we are going to remember is that we won a championship, and no one can take that away from us,” Lancaster said.