Groth's Record Match Paces Phoenix Win on Alumni Night

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
         
Release: October 28, 2011
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Junior Brittany Groth breaks school record, tallies 1,000th dig.

By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Junior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) entered Friday primed for a big night, as the libero was just 10 digs shy of 1,000 in her career at Green Bay. Groth not only got her 1,000th dig while helping the Phoenix (10-14, 6-6 HL) to a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 25-14) over visiting Loyola (4-18, 1-11 HL), she also broke the school record for digs in a four-set match, tallying 35.

Groth's record night gives the junior 1,025 career digs, including 1,019 in the past two seasons. The 35 digs for the libero came on Alumni Night, breaking the previous record held by Green Bay alum and current assistant coach, Sarah Rauen. The record of 34 was set by Rauen on Nov. 17, 2005 against Youngstown State.

To hear reaction from Groth after the match, click here.

Coming off a comeback win over Valparaiso last Saturday, the Phoenix carried the momentum over to Friday night. After starting with a kill and two errors, the team rattled off 12 kills without an error while winning 20 of the final 28 points to take set one. Junior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) had five kills on six swings in helping the Phoenix hit .314.

Leitermann had her second solid match in a row, tallying 14 kills and just two errors on the night while hitting .462.

"I just tried to stay focus and patient, and our offense was really in system and Leah Poel was really putting the ball where I needed it," said Leitermann. "Tonight was a good step for our team."

Set two was a back-and-forth affair that was knotted up at 20-20 after a three-point rally by Loyola. Leitermann then sandwiched a kill from Carlie Willison (Greenfield, Wis.) with two of her own and Green Bay pulled away for a 25-22 set win and a 2-0 lead. Groth, who had 20 digs after two sets, had 12 in the second set, including the 1,000th.

To see a photo gallery from Green Bay's win, click here.

Green Bay looked primed for a sweep when it led the third set 21-17, but Loyola was able to rally with four-straight points and ended up pulling away late and forcing a fourth set with a 26-24 win.

The Phoenix rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win at Sept. 30, and with a dominant fourth set Friday ensured that the Ramblers would not return the favor.

On the strength of Willison's serve and three kills by senior Abbey Gitter (Hortonville, Wis.), Green Bay turned a 10-7 lead into a 16-7 edge with a 6-0 midway through the set. Sophomore Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) then had three kills in six points as the Phoenix closed out the win. In the fourth, Green Bay hit .400 while holding Loyola to a -.067 hitting percentage.

"Loyola came out and really challenged us defensively, but I felt like we responded well," said head coach Debbie Kirch. "Even though we lost the third, I think we finished sets well and responded well in set number four."

Van Zeeland and Gitter each tallied a team and match-high 16 kills to pace the Green Bay offense while Van Zeeland added 11 digs for a double-double. Sophomore setter Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) directed the offense with 56 assists, her career high for a four-set match. The Phoenix hit .295 as a team, its high in Horizon League play in 2011.

Green Bay will stay home and return to action on Thursday, Nov. 3, hosting Butler at the Kress Center at 7 p.m.

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