GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team had a stretch recently where it played four matches in six days. Now, in the past 12 days, the Phoenix (8-13, 4-5 HL) has had just one match. Things pick back up again for head coach Debbie Kirch and her team this weekend as the Phoenix travel to play important Horizon League matches at UIC on Friday at 7 p.m. and Valparaiso on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Green Bay opened its second half of Horizon League with one of its best and most exciting matches of the season last Saturday, but unfortunately the result was not what the Phoenix wanted against league-leading Milwaukee. Green Bay won the first two sets in impressive fashion before losing the match in five.
Senior Abbey Gitter (Hortonville, Wis.) continued her recent strong play as the right side hitter had a team-high 16 kills. In the past seven matches, Gitter has tallied 79 kills and just 17 errors. During that same stretch, sophomore outside hitter Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) has a team-high 80 kills.
A LOOK AT UIC (12-9, 5-4): The first meeting between the two squads, like the past three matches in the series, was a five-setter. On Sept. 24, Green Bay won the first set and led 2-1, but the Flames rallied for the win. Kelsey Sefranek, who leads the Horizon League in kills per set (4.2), led UIC in that match with 17 kills. Middle hitter Sara Sternard had 12 kills and zero errors and is hitting .320 for the season.
A LOOK AT VALPARAISO (15-8, 6-3): The first meeting between Valpo and Green Bay was one of the most impressive performances of the season for the Phoenix. Getting a season-high 15.0 blocks, the Phoenix held Valpo to a hitting percentage of just .065. The Crusaders statistically have the league's top defense, holding opponents to a hitting percentage of .156.
MATCH POINT - HEAR IT FROM THE COACH: Kirch sat down this week to discuss the match against Milwaukee and both of her team's upcoming opponents in the most recent episode of Match Point with Debbie Kirch. To watch the show, click here.
VOLLEYBLOG - HEAR IT FROM THE PLAYERS: In the most recent installment of VolleyBlog, sophomore Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) talks about an annual event on the campus of UW-Green Bay this fall. To hear from Anderson, click here.
NEARING 1,000: Junior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) will likely reach 1,000 digs at some point in the next couple of weeks. The libero for the Phoenix had 26 digs against Milwaukee and now has 426 this season and 938 in her career. After taking over that role early in her sophomore season, Groth has 932 of her 938 digs in the past two seasons.
AT THE TOP: Groth continues to lead the Horizon League in digs per set and has also vaulted up the national rankings as the junior ranks 24th in the country in digs per set (5.26). In HL play, Groth has been even more impressive, averaging 6.40 digs per set.
FOLLOW IT LIVE: For those unable to come to this week's matches, 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.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.