GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team (9-7, 1-2) wraps up its four-match road stretch this weekend with a pair of Horizon League contests in Chicago. The Phoenix first takes on UIC (9-10, 2-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Flames Athletic Center before heading across town to face Loyola (11-6, 3-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Gentile Arena.
Fans can follow Green Bay's matches at UIC and Loyola with live stats and free live video on the Horizon League Network. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the match.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
UIC is coming off a 3-0 home win over Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night, a match that saw senior Janise Dismuke record 13 kills and commit zero errors for an impressive .812 hitting percentage. It marked the highest percentage by a Horizon League player in a match this season (minimum 12 kills), topping her own mark of .762 that she set on Sept. 22 against Wright State. Dismuke enters Friday's match ranked fourth in the conference in hitting percentage (.312) and third in blocks per set (1.03).
The Flames own a 32-16 advantage in the all-time series with the Phoenix. UIC took both meetings between the two teams last year, including a 3-0 win on Oct. 21, 2011 in Chicago. Green Bay's last victory against the Flames came on Nov. 12, 2010, a 3-2 win at the Kress Center.
Loyola swept its Horizon League road matches last weekend, defeating Cleveland State 3-0 on Friday before knocking off Youngstown State 3-1 on Saturday. The Ramblers are led by senior Anna Eytchison - the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week - who ranks second in the conference with 4.54 kills per set.
Despite owning a 41-12 advantage in the all-time series, Loyola has been controlled by Green Bay over the past few seasons. The Phoenix has won each of the last five meetings with the Ramblers, including the last two in the Windy City.
LAST TIME OUT
Green Bay is coming off a week in which it went 1-1 in a pair of five-set road matches at DePaul and Milwaukee. The Phoenix found itself down 0-2 in both contests, but battled back to force fifth sets, completing the comeback against the Blue Demons on Wednesday before falling short against the Panthers on Friday. The Phoenix has gone to five sets seven times in 2012, boasting a 5-2 record.
Senior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) fueled the comeback at DePaul, registering a team-high 15 kills with a .350 hitting percentage, while also recording seven blocks and seven digs. Fellow senior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) had 38 digs, the most by any Horizon League player in a match this season.
Junior Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) posted 20 kills against Milwaukee, hitting .471. After the 0-2 start, Green Bay out-hit the Panthers .448 to .097 in the third set to regain momentum with a 25-14 win, and the Phoenix took set four 25-19 to send the match to the deciding fifth set. The Panthers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the fifth, however, and went on to earn a 15-7 win and deny the Phoenix its second straight comeback.
Green Bay is 7-3 in its last 10 contests and won six of seven matches from Sept. 8-26 ... The Phoenix enters the week ranked seventh in the NCAA in digs per set with 18.28. Individually, Groth ranks fifth among NCAA Division I players and first in the Horizon League with 5.98 digs per set ... Groth's 38 digs at DePaul on Wednesday were the most by any Horizon League player in a match this season. She now owns the conference's top five-set (38) and three-set (29) dig totals ... Groth has 1,554 digs in her career, a figure that ranks second on Green Bay's all-time list. The senior needs 236 more digs to surpass Megan Elfering (1,789 from 2005-08) as the school's career leader ... Leitermann heads into Friday's match ranked in the league's top-10 in both hitting percentage and kills per set. The senior is second in hitting percentage with .327 and ninth in kills with 2.84 per set ... Leitermann has 92 solo blocks for her career and needs just five more to tie former Phoenix standout Marie Kaland (97 from 1992-95) atop the all-time list ... Green Bay is second in the Horizon League in blocks per set, averaging 2.11. Leading the way is junior Katie Mroczenski, who is second individually with 1.12 blocks per set ... Leah Poel ranks fourth in the league in assists, averaging 10.10 per set. Her 59 assists at Davidson on Sept. 15 are tied for the most by any Horizon League player in a match this year.
Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch joined host Ryan Hartwig in studio for this week's episode of Match Point. The two recapped the pair of five-set contests at DePaul and Milwaukee, and also previewed the upcoming trip to Chicago. To watch this week's show, click here.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Green Bay returns to the Kress Center next week for a three-match home stand, beginning with its final non-conference contest of the season against Chicago State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be aired on a tape-delayed basis by Time Warner Cable Sports32, with the first showing falling on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Following the meeting with the Cougars, the Phoenix resumes Horizon League play against Valparaiso on Friday (7 p.m.) and Wright State on Saturday (4 p.m.).
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