DEKALB, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team suffered a 3-1 loss to Northern Illinois Tuesday night in its first road match of the season at Victor E. Court. The Phoenix falls to 1-3 on the year, while the Huskies, an NCAA Tournament team a season ago, improves to 2-3.
Green Bay battled back from a 22-18 deficit to take the second set and knot the match at 1-1, but it wasn't enough as the Huskies cruised in sets three and four to win 25-13, 22-25, 25-12, 25-15.
The Huskies started fast in set one, jumping out to a 5-1 lead following a kill by MacKenzie Roddy. A Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) kill sparked a 7-3 Phoenix run that knotted the score at 8-8, but NIU went on a 10-2 run of its own to move ahead 18-10. Roddy's fifth kill of the set made it 21-11, and her sixth got it to set point at 24-12. A service error by the Phoenix ended the opening set with the Huskies coming out on top 25-13.
NIU seemed to be off and running again in set two, taking a 6-2 lead in the early going, but back-to-back kills by Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) and Zabkowicz started a 5-1 run that ended with Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) tying the set at 7-7. After Roddy put the Huskies back on top 8-7, Green Bay scored five of the next six points to take a 12-9 lead. The Phoenix gained its largest advantage of 15-11 following another Zabkowicz kill, but the Huskies took eight of the next 10 points to go back in front 19-17.
It looked as though the home team was on its way to a 2-0 lead when back-to-back kills by Roddy pushed NIU's edge to 22-18, but that's when Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) came alive. The senior drove home two straight kills after an NIU service error to make it 22-21, forcing the Huskies to call a timeout. A kill by Anderson after the break tied it at 22-22, and two more Leitermann kills gave the Phoenix a 24-22 lead. Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) delivered the final blow to give Green Bay the 25-22 win and even the match at 1-1.
The Phoenix was unable to carry over the momentum into set three, as the Huskies started fast once again by scoring the first five points. NIU pushed its lead to 17-7 after a trio of kills by Meghan Romo, and eventually ran away with the 25-12 win.
Set four was more of the same, as the Phoenix found itself down 10-3 in the early going. Green Bay hung around, trailing 16-12, but the Huskies pulled away down the stretch to win 25-15 and secure the 3-1 victory.
Leitermann led the Phoenix in kills for the second consecutive contest, picking up 10 to go along with a pair of blocks. Junior setter Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) had a solid all-around match, registering 23 assists, 11 digs and seven kills. Roddy led four Huskies in double-figure kills with 19, while Alexis Gonzalez doled out 45 assists.
The Huskies out-hit the Phoenix .344 to .146 and finished with the advantage in kills (57-38), assists (51-35), digs (57-47) and blocks (17-7).
Green Bay is back in action next weekend at the North Dakota Classic in Grand Forks, N.D. - its first of three straight road tournaments. The Phoenix will take on Stephen F. Austin on Friday at 5 p.m., followed by the hosts from North Dakota on Saturday at 1 p.m. before wrapping things up against South Dakota Saturday evening.
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