Green Bay Sweeps Horizon League Player of the Week Awards
By: Ryan Hartwig (@GBHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – After helping the Green Bay volleyball team (12-12, 7-4 HL) to a pair of key conference home wins this past weekend against UIC and Valparaiso, sophomores Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) and Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) were both honored by the Horizon League on Monday as the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for the period of Oct. 28-Nov. 3.
They are the first weekly awards for both players, and Monday marked the first time that Green Bay swept the player of the week honors since the league began recognizing offensive and defensive winners in 2005.
“We are thrilled for Taylor and Jillian, and both are very deserving of these honors,” Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin said. “They were both impressive statistically on the weekend, but more important than their stats were their on-court presence and their competitive demeanor, which helped lead us to a pair of victories.”
Kasal was instrumental in Green Bay’s 3-2 comeback win over second-place Valpo (22-5, 8-2 HL) on Saturday at the Kress Center, recording her first-career double-double with a career-high 21 kills and 16 digs. She also added nine kills and six digs in the 3-0 sweep of UIC on Friday evening. For the weekend, Kasal averaged 3.75 kills per set while hitting .291.
“Taylor’s feisty personality makes it evident that she is out there to win,” Franklin said. “That really showed in both matches this weekend.”
Bauer has been a model of consistency all season long for the Phoenix back row, leading the Horizon League in total digs (466) and digs per set (4.96). She was even better than her average in the two wins over the weekend, finishing with 5.88 digs per set and 47 total digs. She had a match and career-high 32 digs in Saturday’s victory over the Crusaders.
“Bauer continues to be a solid defender and passer for us,” Franklin said. “She has really taken an extra step in her game these past two weeks as a leader and in running the back court for us.”
Kasal and Bauer become the third and fourth weekly award-winners for the Phoenix this season, marking the most in any single season in school history. Senior Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) was named Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 26 and classmate Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2.
Green Bay now sits alone in third place in the Horizon League standings with just three matches remaining on the regular season schedule. The lone match for the Phoenix this week is a Senior Day meeting with first-place Milwaukee (14-9, 10-1 HL) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Kress Center. It will be the final home contest of the season for Green Bay.
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