Green Bay Volleyball Returns Home to Face UIC, Valparaiso
By: Ryan Hartwig (@GBHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay volleyball team (10-12, 5-4 HL) begins a stretch of three straight home matches this weekend, first welcoming UIC (7-16, 2-6 HL) to the Kress Center on Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Valparaiso (21-4, 7-1 HL) on Saturday at 5 p.m. Saturday’s match against the Crusaders will also be Alumni Day and Parents Day for the Phoenix.
Fans unable to make it to the Kress Center this weekend can follow the matches with free live video on the Horizon League Network and live stats. Links can be found on the volleyball schedule page on GreenBayPhoenix.com. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the matches.
LAST TIME OUT
Green Bay split its Horizon League road matches last weekend, falling to Oakland (3-1) on Friday night before scoring a big comeback victory over Wright State (3-2) on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) had a double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs on Friday, but it wasn’t enough as the host Golden Grizzlies used strong, aggressive serving (11 aces) to down the Phoenix 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20.
The following day saw the Raiders jump out to a 2-0 advantage, but senior Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) helped the Phoenix win three straight to earn the 18-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-18, 15-13 victory. Van Zeeland had 12 of her 17 kills in the final three sets, and also posted 12 digs for the match. Sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) also had an impressive day, securing her 10th double-double of the year with 50 assists and 11 digs. Hurley and sophomore Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) joined Van Zeeland in double-figure kills with 17 and 14, respectively, while sophomore Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) led four Phoenix players in double-digit digs with 22.
Green Bay has a number of individuals who rank among the Horizon League’s leaders in a number of statistical categories. Hurley (3.42) and Van Zeeland (3.20) are first and second in kills per set, Bauer is first in digs (419) and digs per set (4.87), and Riese is first in assists (904). Riese and sophomore Becca Mastey (Pulaski, Wis.) are tied for third in the league in service aces with 23 apiece, and Gunderson is seventh in hitting percentage at .269.
UIC (7-16, 2-6 HL) opened the second half of league play last Saturday with a 3-0 loss (25-13, 25-11, 25-22) at Valparaiso. The Flames are led by junior Sara Stenard, who ranks third in the conference in hitting percentage (.311) and eighth in kills (2.94 per set).
Green Bay swept the Flames in Chicago on Oct. 5, earning a trio of convincing set wins (25-18, 25-19, 25-16). The Phoenix hit over .400 in the final two sets, finishing with an impressive .315 hitting percentage, while holding UIC to just .087 for the match. Sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) led the way with 10 kills, hitting .444, and also added a match-high seven blocks.
The preseason Horizon League favorites are currently second in the standings with a 7-1 record and have a chance to take the conference lead this weekend at first-place Milwaukee (13-8, 9-0 HL) and Green Bay. The Crusaders are 21-4 on the year after recent sweeps of UIC and Chicago State, and have now won 20 or more matches in 11 straight seasons.
Valpo has been solid defensively in 2013, leading the Horizon League in opponent hitting percentage (.151) and digs per set (17.05). Senior Ellen Vanden Berg also leads the league in total blocks with 111, averaging 1.26 per set.
ALUMNI DAY, PARENTS DAY
Saturday’s match against the Crusaders will be a busy one, as the Phoenix is hosting both Alumni Day and Parents Day at the Kress Center. Parents and family members will be recognized prior to the start of the match, while all alumni in attendance will be introduced on the court between sets two and three. Green Bay will also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2003 squad’s Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament appearance with a special video tribute. For more information on Alumni Day, click here.
HEAR IT FROM COACH FRANKLIN
Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin sat down with Ryan Hartwig this week to talk about the comeback win over Wright State, the big upcoming home matches and Alumni Day. To watch the full interview, click here.
PHOENIX FAN FEST
Green Bay Athletics will be hosting the annual Phoenix Fan Fest presented by Culver’s from noon-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Kress Events Center, highlighting a busy home weekend which includes the two volleyball matches, swimming and diving, men’s soccer and men’s and women’s basketball. Kids who attend Fan Fest get a free ticket to any of Saturday’s home events.
The annual Fan Fest event is free to attend and will include numerous activities, highlighted by inflatables, face painting, balloons, games, an appearance from Phlash the Phoenix and the opportunity to play sports and get autographs from your favorite Green Bay student-athletes.
For tickets to Green Bay’s matches this weekend, 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.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Green Bay will play its final home contest of the 2013 season next Saturday, Nov. 9 against Milwaukee at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed live on the HLN and broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel.
#For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics and Green Bay Volleyball, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.