GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The last time the Green Bay volleyball team lost, it was on Oct. 29 on the road against Valparaiso. As the Phoenix prepares to take on the Crusaders again - this time in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Horizon League Championship - it carries the momentum of a four-match winning streak.
After finishing Horizon League play at 8-8, Green Bay enters the Horizon League Championships as the fifth seed and will battle fourth-seeded Valpo Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee.
With a victory, the Phoenix would move onto Saturday's semifinals to play either second-seeded Butler or the top-seed and host, Milwaukee. Saturday's matches are slated for 1 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday's championship game will be played at 1 p.m.
Green Bay fell to Valpo twice during the regular season, with both matches ending 3-1 in the Crusaders' favor. However, the Phoenix is playing with a renewed confidence after winning its last four matches. Head coach Debbie Kirch's team won three of the four matches on the road, including an upset of Butler on Nov. 5.
During its winning streak, Green Bay has hit .221 and has been led by freshman Lyndsay Zabkowicz's 54 kills. However, it has been strong defense that has really propelled the Phoenix. During the four matches, the team has 36 blocks compared to 21 for its opponents. Green Bay has also held the opposition to a .152 hitting percentage during the streak.
Despite falling to Valpo in both matches, Green Bay was able to play strong defensively. Sophomore Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) notched 15 blocks in the two matches while sophomore Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) had 53 digs.
Valpo is strong defensively and is led by the 2010 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, Taylor Root. The Crusaders finished the season at 24-7 overall and 10-6 in Horizon League play.
FOLLOW IT LIVE: For those unable to travel watch the Phoenix in person this weekend, live stats and live video will be available for both matches. To access the live video and live stats, go to the volleyball schedule page on GreenBayPhoenix.com.
HORIZON HONORS: Senior Whitney Schott (Roscoe, Ill.) was named on Wednesday to the Horizon League all-conference team. The team captain and setter accumulated 1,086 assists on the season and finished in a tie for second in the HL in service aces per set (0.31). Freshman Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) was one of the seven players named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer team after accumulating 163 kills in her first season. Read more about the Horizon League honors.
SHOWING GROTH: Groth finished the Horizon League season number one in the conference in digs per set (5.68), finishing ahead of Root. Groth's success came after a non-conference season in which she averaged just 3.32 digs per set.
MATCH POINT WITH DEBBIE KIRCH: Now on GreenBayPhoenix.com, watch this week's edition of Match Point with Debbie Kirch. Kirch and host Andrew Gavin to discuss her team's strong play down the stretch and the upcoming Horizon League Championship. To watch the show, click here.HEAR IT FROM THE PLAYERS: Junior Kelly Mischler (Kaukauna, Wis.) talks about the team's preparations for the Horizon League Championship. Click here to read more.