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Miller headed to Marymount

Butler volleyball player joining surging Division III program
Butler senior Ben Miller, flanked by parents Justin and Amy Miller, signs a letter of intent to continue his academic and volleyball career at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. Looking on is Butler boys volleyball coach Lew Liparulo. John Enrietto/Butler Eagle

BUTLER TWP — Volleyball wasn’t on Ben Miller’s radar for a while — not as a college sport, at least.

But the Butler senior has made the most of his time with the sport, recently signing a letter of intent to continue his academic and volleyball career at Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

He plans to major in criminal justice.

“I didn’t begin playing volleyball until seventh grade and I lost my eighth-grade season to COVID,” Miller said. “I was playing a lot of AAU basketball at the time, too. That was the biggest sport in my life a few years ago and I focused on that.

“In terms of high school volleyball, I’ve only been a starter for a year. I joined the Steel City Volleyball Club to get better at the game and that really helped me.”

Miller has been plying club volleyball for two years. He’s been a middle hitter and at times a libero for the Golden Tornado this season.

“Ben’s game has really taken off,” Butler coach Lew Liparulo said. “He’s so quick and he makes good decisions with the ball. He sets his teammates up well.”

Liparulo pointed out that more collegiate volleyball opportunities are out there than ever before.

“That’s particularly true at the Divisions II and III levels,” the coach said. “The sport is growing and so are the number of college programs.”

As for the prospects of Miller getting on the court for significant playing time as a freshman at Marymount, Liparulo said: “That depends on how many players they have coming back and what the numbers are like at his position. I know Ben’s going to work hard to get on the court right away because that’s what he wants.”

Bethany and Chatham were among other schools Miller considered before opting for Marymount.

“It (Marymount) is really close to Washington, D.C., and that’s going to help me on the academic side,” he said. “This has been a top-20 ranked program, so I will be challenged to improve my game.

“Players there will push me to get better and I like that.”

The Saints are 22-9 this season, 6-2 in Continental Volleyball League play. Dan Liberto has been the team’s coach for seven years and sports a 121-63 overall record, 42-20 in CVL play.

Marymount’s last losing volleyball season was in 2019. The Saints have put together three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in the program’s history.

Miller said Marymount likes him in a middle attack position.

“I know I have to get quicker, faster and stronger to play at the next level,” MIller said. “Expectations are high there. If I’m going to play, I have to reach them.”

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