Phoenix Heads to Alabama for Auburn Active Ankle Challenge
By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – After a strong showing last weekend at the season-opening NIU Invitational, the Green Bay volleyball team (1-2) heads south this week for the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge in Auburn, Ala., where it will play a trio of matches at the Student Activities Center.
The Phoenix opens the tournament with two contests on Thursday, first taking on Troy (2-2) at 12 p.m., and then facing the host Tigers (4-0) at 7 p.m. Green Bay wraps things up against Mercer (1-3) on Friday at 5 p.m.
Fans can follow Green Bay at the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge with free live stats for all three matches and pay-per-view video for the Auburn match via AuburnTigers.com. Links can be found on the volleyball schedule page on GreenBayPhoenix.com and on Auburn’s tournament page. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the tournament.
Thursday, September 5
12 p.m. - Green Bay vs. Troy [Live Stats]
7 p.m. - Green Bay at Auburn [Live Stats | Live Video]
Friday, September 6
5 p.m. - Green Bay vs. Mercer [Live Stats]
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Troy is coming off its first 20-win season in a decade (21-12) and was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. The Trojans enter the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge with a 2-2 record after going 1-2 at the Southern Miss Invitational, defeating Jackson State and falling to Southern Miss and Stephen F. Austin, and earning a 3-0 home win over Georgia Southern on Monday. Thursday’s noon contest will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Auburn is a perfect 4-0 in 2013 after sweeping its opening weekend, which included a 3-1 win over No. 10 Nebraska. It marked the Tigers’ first victory over a top-10 opponent and second over a nationally-ranked team. Auburn is 2-0 all-time against the Phoenix, including a win at the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites Tournament last season at the Kress Center.
Mercer is 1-3 on the year after losing three of its four matches at the UAB/Samford Invitational last week. The Bears’ lone win of the season was a 3-1 result against Jacksonville State on Friday. Friday’s match will be the first meeting between Green Bay and Mercer.
FRANKLIN’S FIRST WIN
Green Bay head coach Michaela Franklin earned her first career victory with Saturday’s 3-0 sweep of Liberty. The win came at Victor E. Court at NIU – the place she began her assistant coaching career in 2006. To hear from coach Franklin on her first win, click here.
Sophomore libero Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) was awarded with a spot on the NIU Invite’s All-Tournament Team after a strong opening weekend with the Phoenix. Bauer had 20 or more digs in all three matches in the tournament, including 21 in the three-set win against Liberty, accumulating 63 total.
KUDOS FOR KATIE
Senior middle blocker Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after a record-breaking performance against No. 23 Ohio State in the NIU Invite. Mroczenski had 18 total blocks in the thrilling, five-set loss to the Buckeyes, shattering the Phoenix school record of 13 set by Marie Kaland Nicol in 1992. In addition, her seven solo blocks also broke Kaland’s mark of six from the 1995 season.
Mroczenski was just one block shy of tying the Horizon League’s single-match record of 19 total blocks, set by Milwaukee’s Maddie Sueppel in 2009. Green Bay’s 21 total blocks against Ohio State were the second-most in school history, trailing only the 23 the Phoenix had on Nov. 5, 2004 against Wright State. After one week of play, Mroczenski leads all Horizon League players with 23 total blocks – eight more than the next closest player – and has an average of 1.77 blocks per set.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Following the Auburn Active Ankle Challege, the Phoenix heads to Cedar Falls, Iowa for a pair of contests against Northern Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 15.
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