BROOKINGS, S.D. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay (4-5) volleyball team rallied back from an 0-2 deficit on Saturday afternoon to earn a thrilling come-from-behind win over Bradley (5-3) in its final match of the Jackrabbit Invitational. Junior Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) registered a career-high 20 kills as the Phoenix picked up the 3-2 (27-29, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-11) victory to finish the tournament with a 1-1 record.
The win came less than 18 hours after suffering a disappointing 3-2 loss to South Dakota State in a match the Phoenix led 2-0 to start. Green Bay felt what it was like to be on the other side of the comeback on Saturday, and is now 2-1 in five-set contests this season.
"I can't believe how today mirrored last night, but just the opposite," Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch said. "I'm proud of how resilient we were today. Last night was tough, but we truly believe that each match is a new match. We knew we were close in the first two sets today but we had to make adjustments to shift the momentum."
After dropping sets one and two, the Phoenix came back strong in the third, hitting .361 and building a 16-11 lead following a trio of kills by Anderson, Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) and Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.). Green Bay extended its advantage to 22-14, and held off a late Bradley rally for the 25-20 win.
Following a back-and-forth start in set four, the Phoenix inched ahead 17-14 thanks to a pair of Braves' errors. A kill by senior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) gave Green Bay its largest lead of the set at 19-15, and Mroczenski extended it to 23-18. The Phoenix took two of the next three points to even the match at 2-2 and send it to the deciding fifth set.
Bradley started fast in the fifth, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and forcing a Phoenix timeout. Kills by Leitermann and Van Zeeland sparked an 8-2 Green Bay run to make it 8-6 Phoenix, and Anderson's 20th kill made 12-10. Freshman Taylor Kasal (Downers Grove, Ill.) completed the Phoenix comeback with a trio of kills down the stretch to secure the 15-11 win.
Green Bay trailed for the majority of set one, but an Anderson kill gave the Phoenix a set point opportunity at 24-23. Back-to-back kills by Bradley made it 25-24 Braves, but the Phoenix wouldn't go away easily, knotting the score at 27-27. It was then that Bradley's Alise Tupuritis gave her team the 1-0 advantage, finishing the off the set with two of her match-high 29 kills.
Set two was another close one, as Green Bay fought back from a 19-14 hole to tie it at 22-22. Bradley took the next two points, however, and eventually grabbed the 2-0 lead with a 25-23 win.
Anderson hit .364 on the afternoon, committing just four errors on 44 attempts. She has now had at least 12 kills in four of her last five matches. Joining her with double-digit kill totals were Leitermann (15) and Van Zeeland (13), while Kasal (8), Poel (7) and Mroczenski (7) also had solid matches.
Poel posted her seventh straight double-double, registering a season-high 52 assists and 16 digs. Senior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) led the Phoenix in dig numbers with 19, while freshman Becca Mastey (Pulaski, Wis.) added 17.
Anderson and Poel were both recognized on the Jackrabbit Invite All-Tournament Team Saturday night. Anderson finished with 36 kills in the two matches, while Poel had 98 assists, 28 digs and 14 kills. Joining them on the team were SDSU's Kaitlin Klingemann (MVP), Shay Birath and Kelli Fiegen and Bradley's Madison Kamp and Alise Tuperitis.
Green Bay returns to action next weekend at the Davidson Wildcat Classic in Davidson, N.C. - its fourth and final tournament of the regular season. The Phoenix will face a trio of unfamiliar opponents from the state of North Carolina, meeting North Carolina Central, High Point and Davidson for the first times in school history.
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