Green Bay Travels to DePaul for Non-Conference Finale
By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay volleyball team (8-9, 3-2 HL) will take a break from Horizon League action on Tuesday night, traveling to DePaul (14-3, 1-3 BIG EAST) for its final non-conference match of the season. The Phoenix and the Blue Demons are set to square off at 6 p.m. CT at McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago.
Fans unable to make the trip to Chicago on Tuesday can follow the match with live video ($) and live stats via DePaulBlueDemons.com. Links can also 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 match.
LAST TIME OUT
Green Bay’s lone match last week resulted in a 3-1 road loss at first-place Milwaukee on Friday night. A Phoenix win would have forced a tie atop the Horizon League standings, but the host Panthers prevailed 25-21, 24-26, 25-21, 25-21 to improve to a perfect 5-0 in conference play and 9-8 overall.
Green Bay sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) led all players in the match with a career-high 17 kills while maintaining an impressive .536 hitting percentage. Freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) also reached double-figures for the Phoenix, tallying 13 kills, while sophomore setter Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) posted a double-double with 48 assists and 10 digs.
FAST START FOR THE PHOENIX
Green Bay’s 3-1 start in Horizon League play under first-year head coach Michaela Franklin equaled the best four-match conference start in school history. The Phoenix also began 3-1 in 2003 en route to an 8-1 start, and eventually won the conference tournament and qualified for the program’s first and only NCAA Tournament.
Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) earned Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Month honors for August/September following an impressive start to her senior campaign. Anderson posted 101 kills in the month of September, averaging 3.26 per set while hitting .265. She had double-digit kill totals in six of the team’s 10 matches, including a 21-kill effort in a comeback win over Oakland on Sept. 28. Anderson was also named to the Butler Classic All-Tournament Team on Sept. 21 after registering 34 kills and hitting .405 in the three matches in Indianapolis.
The senior currently ranks second among all Horizon League players in kills per set (3.18), trailing only her teammate Hurley (3.19). She recently tied her career high with 22 kills on Oct. 4 in a tough, five-set loss at Valparaiso. In the classroom, Anderson boasts a 3.905 cumulative grade-point average and helped the Phoenix earn a 3.54 team GPA last spring.
In addition to Hurley and Anderson leading the way in kills per set, several other Phoenix players also rank among the Horizon League’s leaders in a number of statistical categories. Sophomore transfers Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) are both on top of their respective lists, as Riese is first in assists per set (10.52) and Bauer is first in digs per set (4.86). Sophomore Becca Mastey (Pulaski, Wis.) is fourth among league players in service aces per set (0.31), and Gunderson is now sixth in hitting percentage (.281) following her impressive showing at Milwaukee last Friday. Joining Anderson and Hurley in the top-10 in kills per set is senior Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.), who ranks seventh with an even 3.00.
DePaul will be looking for its 14th straight non-conference victory on Tuesday night, as the Blue Demons got off to a hot 13-0 start in 2013 before dropping three of their first four BIG EAST matches against stiff competition. DePaul is coming off a 3-1 loss on Friday against Creighton – the BIG EAST’s preseason favorite.
The Blue Demons are paced by senior Vesela Zapryanova, who leads the team with 230 kills (3.83 per set) while hitting .277 for the year.
DePaul owns a 13-5 advantage in the all-time series, but Green Bay has won each of the last four meetings, including a 3-2 thriller last year in Chicago.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Green Bay returns home this weekend for the first time in nearly three weeks when it hosts Horizon League foes Youngstown State and Cleveland State at the Kress Center. The Phoenix welcomes the Penguins on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Vikings on Saturday at 4 p.m.
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