GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - For the fifth time in her standout career and the second time in 2012, Green Bay volleyball senior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) has been selected as the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week for the period of Sept. 17-23, the conference office announced Monday.
Groth, who also won the award on Aug. 27 this season, averaged 6.9 digs per set over the weekend as the Phoenix (8-6, 1-1 Horizon League) split its league-opening home matches against Cleveland State (L, 1-3) and Youngstown State (W, 3-2). The senior had 31 digs in each contest, pushing her season average to 5.96 digs per set - a figure that ranks third among all NCAA Division I players.
"It's very impressive the impact Brittany has made nationally and it's nice to see her get recognition for it," Phoenix head coach Debbie Kirch said. "We have a very strong defensive core and it starts with our libero. As a coach, you always want to see seniors having the best seasons of their careers - that's what it is all about. It's hard to believe, but I think there are still areas she can improve and be even better than she is right now."
With a league-leading 322 digs in 2012, Groth has increased her career total to 1,493 and is just 26 shy of tying current Phoenix assistant coach Sarah Rauen for second on Green Bay's all-time list (1,519). Groth needs 297 more digs to surpass Megan Elfering (1,789 from 2005-08) as the school's career leader.
Groth has helped the Phoenix win five of its last six matches, and seven of its last 10. After the brief homestand over the weekend, Green Bay heads back on the road for four straight, beginning at DePaul on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Phoenix then returns to Horizon League action on Friday at Milwaukee at 7 p.m.
Leah Van Zeeland made a strong case for player of the week honors with her 18-kill, 21-dig, eight-block performance in Saturday's 3-2 win over Youngstown State. All three were season highs for the Phoenix junior, while the dig and block numbers set new career bests ... Katie Mroczenski had 11 total blocks in Green Bay's two matches over the weekend, and now leads the Horizon League with 1.15 blocks per set ... Carmen Leitermann had one solo block against Cleveland State, giving her 92 for her career. The senior, currently second on the school's all-time list, needs six more solo blocks to pass Marie Kaland (97 from 1992-95) as Green Bay's career leader ... Green Bay has been one of the Horizon League's top defensive teams through the first 14 matches, ranking first in blocks (2.13/set) and digs (18.43/set) ... In addition to Groth and Mroczenski leading in a statistical category, the Phoenix has a number of other players who rank in the conference's top-10. Leitermann currently ranks third in hitting percentage (.316), Leah Poel is fifth in assists (10.06/set), Van Zeeland is seventh in service aces (14), and Lyndsay Zabkowicz (8th, 2.93/set) and Monica Anderson (10th, 2.87/set) are both in the top-10 in kills.
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