GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Green Bay senior Abbey Gitter (Hortonville, Wis.) and junior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) have been named to the All-Horizon League Volleyball squad, the conference office announced on Monday afternoon. It is the first such honor for either player and marks the first time Green Bay has had two all-League players since 2005.
In the midst of one of the best defensive seasons in school history, Groth leads the Horizon League and is tied for 10th nationally in digs per set. The libero leads Valparaiso's Taylor Root, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, by.38 digs per set overall and is first in league play by a staggering 1.35 digs per set more than second place.
Groth broke Green Bay's single-season digs record on Friday at Youngstown State and has 632 digs on the season, the fourth-highest total in Horizon League history. She broke the program's record for digs in a four-set match with 35 against Loyola (Oct. 28) and broke her own record two matches later with a career-high 38 against Wright State. With five matches of 34 or more digs in 2011, Groth owns six of the nine best dig efforts in program history.
She tallied her 1,000th career dig against Loyola and now has 1,144 career digs, the seventh most in program history. Groth has 1,138 of her digs in the past two seasons after recording just six as a freshman.
"Brittany has been our most consistent player this season," said head coach Debbie Kirch. "Match in and match out, she's performed at the same high level, which is not only why she led our league in digs per set, but also has ranked high in the nation. It's tough for defensive players to get recognized because of the lack of statistics you can use to compare players. It shows what an impact Brittany had on this team that she was able to earn this award."
Gitter leads the Phoenix in kills (313) and kills per set (2.87) and is second in hitting percentage (.257). The senior southpaw has tallied double-digit kills in 17 matches, including eight of the past 10 contests.
In the team's first Horizon League match, Gitter posted 17 kills at Milwaukee. She also had 16 in a win over Loyola on Oct. 28 and was perfect with 13 kills and zero errors when the Phoenix defeated Wright State on Oct. 8. Strengthened by her 17-kill performance against Montana, Gitter was named to the all-tournament team at the Saluki Invitational.
Gitter has accumulated 934 kills in her standout career with the Phoenix, including 317 as a junior in 2010. Her 934 kills rank fifth all-time in Phoenix history. With a career-high 61 blocks this season, Gitter now has 148 in her career.
"Abbey has been a solid part of our lineup and an extremely reliable part of our offense for her entire career," said Kirch. "She has always had the respect and confidence of her teammates and coaching staff, not just as a right side hitter, but also as a leader. As I have said before, she's been our rock and I'm proud of her for getting recognized for her impact on this team."
With the regular season in the books, Gitter, Groth and Green Bay turn their attention to this weekend's Horizon League Championship in Milwaukee. The Phoenix enters the tourney as the sixth seed and will play third-seeded Butler at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the Klotsche Center.
2011 All-Horizon League Team
Kerri Schuh, Milwaukee, Sr. OH/RS
Kara Koch, Cleveland State, Jr. OH
Rachel Neuberger, Milwaukee, So. MB
Maureen Bamiro, Butler, Sr. MB
Taylor Root, Valparaiso, Jr. L
Kelsey Safranek, UIC Jr., OH
Jordan Goad, Cleveland State, Sr. S
Brittany Groth, Green Bay, Jr. L
Abbey Gitter, Green Bay, Sr. RS
Morgan Beil, Valparaiso, Fr. MH/RS
Morgan Potter, Milwaukee, Sr. DS
Maggie Harbison, Butler, So. MB
Elizabeth Egerer, Milwaukee, Jr. OH
Jenny Pokorny, Valparaiso, Sr. S
Player of the Year: Kerri Schuh, Milwaukee
Defensive Player of the Year: Taylor Root, Valparaiso
Newcomer of the Year: Kayla Price, Milwaukee
Coach of the Year: Susie Johnson, Milwaukee
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