Phoenix Opens Horizon League Schedule at Home This Weekend
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay volleyball team (5-7) begins its Horizon League schedule this weekend, welcoming Wright State (6-11) and Oakland (6-8) to the Kress Center for just its second and third home matches of 2013. The Phoenix hosts the Raiders on Friday at 7 p.m. before the new-to-the-league Golden Grizzlies visit Green Bay for the first time on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Fans unable to make it to the Kress Center this weekend can follow the action with free live video on the Horizon League Network and live stats on GreenBayPhoenix.com. Links can be found on the volleyball schedule page. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the matches.
SCOUTING GREEN BAY
After a challenging preseason schedule, first-year head coach Michaela Franklin’s battle-tested Phoenix squad enters Horizon League play coming off a 1-2 showing at last weekend’s Butler Classic in Indianapolis. Green Bay dropped its first two matches 3-0 to host Butler and Toledo, but finished strong with a 3-0 win over UT Martin.
Senior Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) and sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) were both named to the all-tournament team, as Anderson registered 34 kills and hit an impressive .405 in the three matches and Riese finished with an even 100 assists. The duo helped Green Bay post its highest hitting percentage of the season (.302) in the win over UT Martin.
Green Bay has two players in the Horizon League’s top-10 in kills per set, as freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Penn.) ranks fourth (3.24) and senior Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) ranks sixth (3.07). Hurley’s 23 kills in Green Bay’s win at Auburn Sept. 5 are the most any league player has had in a match this year. Riese is third in the conference in assists per set with 10.21, while fellow transfer Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) is tops in the league in digs per set (4.89).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
This year’s Wright State squad is much-improved from the 2012 version, as the Raiders already have more wins (6-11) than they did in all of last season (2-30). WSU had a nice stretch in mid-September, winning three of its four matches (def. Robert Morris 3-1, Indiana State 3-1, Chicago State 3-0), but enters league play coming off of three straight losses (Western Michigan 3-0, Western Kentucky 3-0, Dayton 3-0) at the Flyer Classic last weekend in Dayton, Ohio.
The Raiders are paced by senior Heidi Splinter, who leads the team and ranks second in the conference in kills per set with 3.36 (205 kills). Freshman Emily Meng has played a key role in Splinter’s strong start, leading all Horizon League players in assists (603) and ranking second, just ahead of Riese, in assists per set (10.40).
Wright State and Green Bay have met 48 times since 1989, with the Raiders holding a 27-21 advantage in the all-time series. The Phoenix has controlled the more recent meetings, however, winning five of the last six.
Oakland (6-8) will make its Horizon League debut on Friday night at Milwaukee before making its first-ever trip to Green Bay on Saturday. The Phoenix is 4-1 all-time against the Golden Grizzlies and has won the last four matches, including the most recent nearly a decade ago on Sept. 17, 2004.
The Golden Grizzlies are coming off a 1-2 showing at last weekend’s Northern Illinois Tournament, where they defeated IPFW (3-1) and fell to Western Illinois (3-2) and host NIU (3-0). The Phoenix also played at NIU earlier this year in its season opener on Aug. 30, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Huskies. Oakland and Green Bay have another common opponent on the schedule in Auburn. The Phoenix defeated the Tigers 3-2 on Sept. 5 en route to winning the Active Ankle Challenge, while the Golden Grizzlies fell 3-0 to the SEC foe in the opening match of the Notre Dame Tournament on Sept. 13.
Oakland boasts a balanced attack, as four different players have at least 100 kills on the year. Sophomore Cassie Pelloni leads the way with 139 kills, averaging 2.78 per set. The Golden Grizzlies rank third in the league in kills per set with 12.41.
COACH FRANKLIN SKYPE INTERVIEW
Head coach Michaela Franklin caught up with Kyle Binder of the Horizon League Network via Skype on Wednesday to talk about her first season as a head coach and preview the start of league play. To watch the full interview, click here.
Green Bay has seven matches on its 2013 schedule against opponents who played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Phoenix faced No. 23 Ohio State and Liberty at the NIU Invitational, and played a pair of road matches at Northern Iowa on Sept. 14. Green Bay then welcomed Marquette to the Kress Center for its home opener on Sept. 17, and the Phoenix still has two contests against defending Horizon League champion Cleveland State on Oct. 19 and Nov. 15.
For tickets to Green Bay’s league-opening matches, visit GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets or order by phone at 920-465-2625. Tickets can also be purchased at the Kress Center box office prior to the match. Adult tickets are only $7 and youth tickets are just $1.
POST-MATCH CLINIC SATURDAY
Green Bay is hosting a Junior Phoenix Clinic immediately following Saturday’s contest against Oakland. The cost of the clinic is $5, which includes a ticket to the match. Parents of children who are interested in attending the clinic can register by contacting assistant coach Kalin Zimmerman at email@example.com.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Green Bay hits the road for four straight following this weekend’s league-opening homestand. The Phoenix travels to Valparaiso Oct. 4, UIC Oct. 5 and Milwaukee Oct. 11 before heading to DePaul for its final non-conference contest of the year on Oct. 15.
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