By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team continues its nine-match road stretch this weekend at the UND Classic, hosted by North Dakota at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks. The Phoenix (1-3) opens the tournament against Stephen F. Austin on Friday at 5 p.m., then plays South Dakota (5 p.m.) and the hosts from North Dakota (7 p.m.) on Saturday.
Fans can follow all six matches of the UND Classic with live stats, and live video and audio will be available for select matches. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the tournament.
Friday, August 31
5 p.m. - Green Bay vs. Stephen F. Austin [Live Stats]
7 p.m. - South Dakota vs. North Dakota [Live Stats | Live Video]
Saturday, September 1
11 a.m. - South Dakota vs. Stephen F. Austin [Live Stats]
1 p.m. - Green Bay vs. North Dakota [Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video]
5 p.m. - Green Bay vs. South Dakota [Live Stats]
7 p.m. - Stephen F. Austin vs. North Dakota [Live Stats | Live Video]
After sweeping Drake in its season opener last Friday to start the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites Tournament, the Phoenix has since lost three straight matches to stiff competition. Green Bay fell to defending MAC Tournament champion and NCAA Tournament qualifier Central Michigan 3-0 on Saturday before wrapping up its home tournament with a hard-fought 3-0 loss to Auburn of the SEC - the RPI's third strongest conference. Most recently the Phoenix traveled to DeKalb, Ill., on Tuesday night for its first road match of the season, suffering a 3-1 loss to another 2011 NCAA Tournament team in Northern Illinois.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Stephen F. Austin opened the 2012 season strong, winning all three of its matches at the UT-Arlington/Hilton Invitational a weekend ago. Led by all-tournament performances from seniors Madison Hanlan and Sabrina Burns, the Ladyjacks topped Texas-Pan American (3-2), Savannah State (3-0) and UT-Arlington (3-0) to take the tournament title. Stephen F. Austin enters the UND Classic coming off a 3-1 loss in its first home contest against Louisiana-Monroe Tuesday night.
South Dakota began its 2012 campaign with four matches at the Alabama State ISTAP Invitational last weekend. The Coyotes opened with a pair of wins over Tennessee State (3-1) and Stetson (3-0) before dropping a five-setter to Jacksonville State (3-2). South Dakota bounced back in the tournament finale with a 3-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana. The Coyotes, picked fifth in the Summit League preseason poll, were paced by Amber Aschoff and Kendall Kritenbrink at ISTAP, as Aschoff recorded 46 kills and landed on the all-tournament team and while Kritenbrink had 45 kills.
The tournament hosts from UND are off to a 1-2 start in 2012, falling to No. 5 USC (3-0) and Texas A&M (3-0) and defeating Texas State (3-1) at the Texas A&M Tournament last weekend. Sophomore Lexi Robinson had a solid tournament, posting a double-double with 16 kills and 16 digs in UND's first victory of the season.
LIGHTS OUT LEITERMANN
Senior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) is off to a strong start in 2012, leading the Phoenix with 41 kills from the middle. Her .405 hitting percentage ranks fourth among all Horizon League players, and she also ranks in the top 10 in blocks (seventh, 0.92 per set). Her solid play was rewarded with a spot on the all-tournament team at the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites tourney.
Senior libero Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) leads all Horizon League players in digs per set with 6.32. She broke the Green Bay school record for digs in a three-set match with 29 last Saturday against Auburn and was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 27 for the fourth time in her career.
Green Bay volleyball head coach Debbie Kirch sat down with host Ryan Hartwig for the season's first episode of Match Point. Hear from coach Kirch about the team's challenging schedule, the season-opening win against Drake, the strong start by senior Carmen Leitermann and more.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
The Phoenix has two more tournaments on the schedule before beginning Horizon League play on Sept. 21 against Cleveland State. Green Bay first heads to Brookings, S.D., for the South Dakota State Jackrabbit Invitational (South Dakota State, Bradley) before making the trip to Davidson, N.C., for the Davidson Wildcat Classic (NC Central, High Point, Davidson).
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