Phoenix Holds Off Davidson, Claims Wildcat Classic Title
DAVIDSON, N.C. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team (7-5) continued its winning ways on Saturday night, defeating Davidson 3-2 in the Wildcat Classic finale to claim the tournament title and extend its winning streak to four matches.
The Phoenix, winners of five of the last six, went 3-0 at Belk Arena over the weekend, beating NC Central (3-0) on Friday and High Point (3-0) on Saturday morning before completing the weekend sweep against the Wildcats.
Green Bay grabbed a convincing 2-0 lead over the Davidson to start, but the hosts rallied to tie the match at two sets apiece. The Phoenix was able to hold off the comeback, however, scoring the final four points in the fifth set to secure the 25-11, 32-30, 14-25, 22-25, 15-11 victory and take home the hardware.
"We came out really strong tonight, and after we came back to win set two I felt like we were in position to win in three," Phoenix head coach Debbie Kirch said. "Davidson was not going to let that happen. They played amazing defense and frustrated our hitters. I was really proud of how we responded in set five. It shows how much winning the tournament meant to us."
Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) earned tournament MVP honors, capping off an outstanding weekend with a season-high 59 assists against the Wildcats. The junior finished with 121 assists in just 10 sets played on the weekend, averaging 12.1 per set. Joining Poel on the All-Tournament Team were teammates Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) and Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.). Van Zeeland had 34 kills and 38 digs in the three matches, while Anderson led the Phoenix with 41 kills.
Anderson led all players with a career-high 22 kills against the Wildcats, hitting .340 for the match. Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) tied her season-high of 18 kills on remarkable .421 hitting percentage, while Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) and Van Zeeland also reached double-figures with 16 and 10 kills, respectively. Overall, the Phoenix out-hit Davidson .234 to .168 in the contest.
Set one was all Phoenix, as the visitors charged out to a 13-1 lead before ultimately cruising to 25-11 win. Green Bay hit an impressive .448 in the opener while holding Wildcats to a hitting percentage of .000. The 14-point win marked Green Bay's largest margin of victory in any set this season.
The second set wasn't as easy, as the Wildcats came back from a five-point deficit (20-15) to tie the match at 23-23. Davidson gave itself five different set-point opportunities down the stretch, but the Phoenix denied each one. Back-to-back kills by Zabkowicz gave Green Bay a set-point chance of its own at 31-30, and Leitermann closed the deal with a kill to give the Phoenix the 2-0 lead.
Davidson came back strong in the next two sets, hitting .429 en route to a 25-14 win the third before holding on for a 25-22 win in the fourth to tie the match at 2-2.
After an even start in the deciding fifth set, the Phoenix found itself tied 10-10 after a kill by Leitermann. The Wildcats evened the score once again at 11-11, but it would be the final point the home team would score as the Phoenix rattled off the next four points to win 15-11 and wrap up the tournament title.
After nine straight matches away from home, the Phoenix returns to the Kress Center next weekend to start its Horizon League schedule. Green Bay welcomes Cleveland State on Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Youngstown State on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team
Leah Poel - Green Bay (MVP)
Leah Van Zeeland - Green Bay
Monica Anderson - Green Bay
Courtney Johnk - High Point
Annemarie Chin - High Point
Melissa Rabell Pineiro - NC Central
Tindall Sewell - Davidson
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