VALPARAISO, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Despite nine blocks from sophomore Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.), Green Bay (8-18, 4-8 HL) fell in the opening match of a four-match road trip Friday night at Valparaiso (21-5, 8-4 HL), losing 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20) in Horizon League volleyball action.
The Phoenix had 11.0 team blocks on Friday, with Leitermann totaling six block assists and three solo blocks. The sophomore now ranks fifth all-time in Green Bay history with 53 solo blocks, just two behind Michelle Busse. Leitermann's nine blocks Friday were tied for the fifth most in a four-set match in school history.
"Defensively, I thought we played pretty well, but offensively our ball control was not there," said head coach Debbie Kirch. "We had too many unforced errors due to our jitters and just never got in a flow."
After dropping the opening set, the Phoenix dug deep to pull out game two. The Crusaders took a 23-20 lead on a Tara Diebler kill, but Green Bay scored six of the next seven points to claim a 26-24 win and tie the match at one game apiece. Leitermann had back-to-back aces during the run.
The Crusaders bounced back with a victory in set three before a hard-fought fourth decided the match. Valpo used a run midway through the set to take a 17-11 lead, but Leitermann led a comeback with a pair of blocks and a kill which closed the deficit to two (21-19). However, three-straight kills from Valpo closed the match.
Junior Abbey Gitter (Hortonville, Wis.) led the Phoenix again with 10 kills and only two errors while Leitermann added seven kills to her nine blocks. Senior Whitney Schott (Roscoe, Ill.) set up the offense with 26 assists.
Sophomore Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) had a team-high 23 digs. Groth, leading the Horizon League in digs per set, matched up with Valpo libero Taylor Root, who was second in the conference in digs and tallied 28 on Friday.
The Phoenix returns to the court Saturday, playing at Loyola at 4 p.m. In the first meeting between the two teams, Green Bay defeated the Ramblers in a thrilling five-set match on Oct. 1.
Valparaiso def. Green Bay 25-18, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20
Green Bay (8-18, 4-8 HL) (Kills-aces-blocks)
GITTER, Abbey 10-2-3; LEITERMANN, Carmen 7-2-9; ZABKOWICZ, Lyndsay 6-0-0; MISCHLER, Kelly 5-0-1; SCHOTT, Whitney 4-3-2; ANDERSON, Monica 1-0-0; WILLISON, Carlie 1-0-3; Totals 34-7-11.0. (Assists) - SCHOTT, Whitney 26. (Dig leaders) - GROTH, Brittany 23; KORALEWSKI, Karli 17; MARUNOWSKI, Sabrina 9; WILLISON, Carlie 8
LAYMAN, Katie 21-0-4; DIEBLER, Tara 20-0-2; DOOMS, Sarah 7-0-1; DENT, Mary 6-0-1; POKORNY, Jenny 5-1-2; GROESBECK, Amy 3-0-1; VICTOR, Kelsey 3-0-0; BOLLENBACHER, Val 2-1-2; BRITTON, Katie 0-0-1; BALSIS, Andrea 0-2-0; Totals 67-4-9.0. (Assists) - POKORNY, Jenny 52. (Dig leaders) - ROOT, Taylor 28; DOOMS, Sarah 18; POKORNY, Jenny 18; BOLLENBACHER, Val 18; BALSIS, Andrea 13