Phoenix Opens Homestand with Rout of Chicago State
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Playing in its final non-conference contest of the regular season, the Green Bay volleyball team (10-9, 1-4 Horizon League) made quick work of Chicago State (2-19, 0-2 Great West) Tuesday night at the Kress Center, earning a 3-0 sweep to improve to 19-0 all-time against the Cougars.
The 25-18, 25-10, 26-24 win snapped a three-match losing streak for the Phoenix, and kicked off the team's three-match homestand on a high note.
"It was a good way to start the week," Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch said. "We obviously wanted to get back on track after the way things have been going the last few matches. We got the chance to try some different things offensively and I thought all those things worked well. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish tonight."
The Phoenix used a balanced offensive attack to overwhelm the Cougars, finishing with a staggering .301 to .096 advantage in hitting percentage. Green Bay also ended with the edge in every major statistical category, owning Chicago State in kills (46-31), assists (41-31), blocks (11-2) and digs (55-48).
A trio of Phoenix players tied for the match high in kills, as Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.), Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) and Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) recorded nine apiece. Mroczenski finished with a hitting percentage of .500, committing just one error in 16 swings en route to tying her career-best kill total, while Leitermann and Van Zeeland hit .467 and .208, respectively.
Trailing 13-11 in the first, the Phoenix used a Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) kill to jump-start an 8-1 run that gave the hosts a 19-14 lead. Kills by Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) and Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) helped the Phoenix to a set point chance at 24-18, and Mroczenski closed it out with a kill to give Green Bay the 1-0 lead.
Set two was all Phoenix, as the home team out-hit its opposition .455 to .053 in a 25-10 thrashing. Back-to-back kills by Leitermann capped off a 9-2 run that made it 18-6 Green Bay, and two straight kills by freshman Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) finished off the rout to make it 2-0.
The Phoenix led 24-21 in the third, but the Cougars denied three straight match point opportunities to tie things up at 24-24. A double-block by Mroczenski and Van Zeeland after a Phoenix timeout moved the home team back in front, and Van Zeeland delivered the final blow with a kill to give her team the 26-24 win and the 3-0 sweep.
Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.), who entered the match ranked first in the Horizon League and fourth in the NCAA in digs per set, recorded a match-high 22 digs to push her season average to 6.09. Poel finished with a match-high 23 assists, while Mroczenski led the way with eight total blocks.
All 14 Phoenix players in uniform saw action on Tuesday night - playing time that Kirch feels was well-deserved.
"It's good to be able to reward the players on the team with solid playing time," Kirch said. "We have 15 players that commit their time and effort and work hard each and every day, so it's nice to have a match where we can get everybody on the court. Our scout team in practice has been the best that we've ever had since I've been here, and they definitely deserve the playing time."
Green Bay continues its three-match homestand with a pair of Horizon League matches this weekend. The Phoenix welcomes Valparaiso to the Kress Center on Friday for a 7 p.m. meeting, and then closes out the weekend on Saturday with a 4 p.m. contest against Wright State.
PHOENIX ON TV:
Tape-delayed broadcasts of Tuesday's match between Green Bay and Chicago State can be seen five times over the next five days on Time Warner Cable Sports32. The first airing will be Wednesday night at 7 p.m. For a complete schedule of when the match will air, click here.
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