GRAND FORKS, N.D. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) registered a career-high 22 kills as Green Bay (2-3) opened the UND Classic with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Stephen F. Austin (3-2) Friday evening at the Betty Engelstad Soiux Center in Grand Forks, N.D. The Phoenix trailed 2-1 after the third set, but rallied to take sets four and five in the 23-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 15-11 win.
"It was a good win for us," Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch said. "We didn't start the match very well, but after the Northern Illinois match we talked a lot about changing momentum and how we are in control of that. We also played really well offensively tonight. It was the best match our outsides have had all season."
The Phoenix out-hit the Ladyjacks .291 to .126 in the contest, which included dominant performances in the three set wins. Green Bay hit .433 compared to SFA's .025 in set two, recording kills on 15 of its 30 attempts while committing just two errors. The Phoenix posted .294 and .348 percentages in sets four and five, respectively, while forcing the Ladyjacks to hit just .050 and .077.
Zabkowicz hit .340 in the match, committing just four errors in 53 attempts. The junior topped her previous career high of 18 kills, which she set her freshman season against Milwaukee. Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) also posted a career-high kill total with 15, hitting a team-best .361. Setting up the majority of the attacks was junior Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.), who had a match and season-high 51 assists to go along with 18 digs. Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) also had a strong contest in the middle for the Phoenix, helping on nine of the team's 12 total blocks.
The first set was tight throughout, as neither team led by more than three at any point. With SFA holding a 16-13 advantage, Zabkowicz drove home back-to-back kills to get the Phoenix to within one. Three straight attack errors by the Ladyjacks gave Green Bay its first lead at 18-16, but SFA took the next five points to go back ahead 21-18. An Anderson kill got the Phoenix back within one at 24-23, but a kill by Paige Holland ended the set and gave SFA the 1-0 lead.
Green Bay got off to a good start in set two, jumping out to a 10-4 lead thanks to seven kills by five different players. The Phoenix pushed its lead to nine (17-8) and never looked back, cruising comfortably to a 25-17 win.
After trailing 17-10 in the third set, Green Bay went on a 10-3 run to even the score at 20-20. Three straight kills moved the Ladyjacks back in front, but an error followed by a Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) service ace gave the Phoenix life down 23-22. Green Bay was unable to take advantage, as an attack error gave SFA set point and a kill by Sabrina Burns ended it, moving the Ladyjacks ahead 2-1.
With the score knotted at 4-4 early in the fourth, the Phoenix rattled off six straight points with Sabrina Marunowski (Milwaukee, Wis.) serving. The Ladyjacks mounted a comeback, however, as two straight kills by Keeley Kainer moved SFA back in front 20-19. A kill by Anderson, followed by two SFA attack errors gave the Phoenix a one-point advantage, and a kill by Leitermann forced the Ladyjacks to call timeout trailing 23-21. After a double block by Leitermann and Poel, Zabkowicz closed it out with a kill to send the match to the fifth and final set.
The fifth started with a service ace by freshman Becca Mastey (Pulaski, Wis.), giving the Phoenix a lead it would never relinquish. Green Bay started fast, building a 6-1 advantage after kills from Leitermann, Mroczenski and Zabkowicz. The Ladyjacks made things interesting, battling its way to 12-10, but back-to-back kills by Zabkowicz sealed the 15-11 win, giving the Phoenix its second victory of the season.
Joining Zabkowicz and Anderson with double-figure kills was Leitermann (11), who has recorded at least 10 kills in four of the first five matches this season. Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) led the Phoenix with 20 digs, while Mastey added a career-best 17.
Green Bay returns to action in the UND Classic on Saturday with matches against host North Dakota at 1 p.m. and South Dakota at 5 p.m.
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