Phoenix Holds on for 3-2 Road Win at Cleveland State
CLEVELAND, Ohio (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Behind a career-high 22 kills from senior Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.), the Green Bay volleyball team (13-13, 8-5 HL) jumped out to a 2-0 advantage and held on for a five-set (26-24, 25-18, 23-25, 22-25, 15-10) victory at Cleveland State (14-12, 4-9 HL) Friday night at Woodling Gymnasium. The win kept the Phoenix in a tie for third place in the Horizon League standings with just one match remaining on the regular season schedule.
Van Zeeland hit an impressive .362 for the match and also had six block assists, helping the Phoenix post 17 team blocks in the win.
“Leah just really stepped up tonight and put the team on her back,” Green Bay head coach Michaela Franklin said. “She played big down the stretch and just became possessed with winning. She was swinging to score and was also a big part of our blocking success. She definitely took care of her job tonight.”
Four different Phoenix players finished with at least six blocks in the match, and four registered double-digit kill totals.
Along with Van Zeeland (6) and sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) (10), senior Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) and sophomore Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) also posted six blocks apiece. The 10 blocks by Gunderson marked a career high, and the sophomore also finished with 11 kills for her first career double-double.
Kasal also notched 15 kills and 12 digs on the night for her second double-double of the year. Freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) was fourth Green Bay player in double-digit kills with 11.
Sophomore libero Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) also had a career night on Friday, picking up 36 digs – the fifth-highest total in school history. Sophomore setter Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) had another excellent match for the Phoenix as well, registering 58 assists, seven digs and four total blocks.
After escaping with a 26-24 win in the opener, Green Bay rolled to a 25-18 triumph in set two to open up the 2-0 advantage. The Phoenix block was key in the first two sets, as the visitors posted nine team blocks in the two wins. Gunderson had five of her career-high 10 blocks in sets one and two.
The Vikings came out firing after the break, opening up a 17-11 lead in the third and forcing Green Bay to call its final timeout of the set. The Phoenix was able to rally and cut the CSU lead to 24-23 thanks to eight Van Zeeland kills in the set, but the home team avoided the sweep with the 25-23 win.
Green Bay overcame a 5-0 deficit in the fourth to take a 17-15 lead late, but the Vikings scored 10 of the set’s final 15 points to win 25-22 and send the match to a fifth and final set.
The Phoenix controlled the fifth, opening up a 10-5 lead on Van Zeeland’s career-best 22nd kill of the match. The Vikings got it to three late at 13-10, but back-to-back kills by Gunderson ended the set and the match at 15-10.
Green Bay heads to Youngstown State for its regular season finale on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT. The Phoenix is tied for third with Oakland (8-5) in the Horizon League standings, and is one match ahead of YSU (7-6).
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