Phoenix Rolls Past Raiders to Wrap Up First Half of League Play
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team (11-10, 2-5 HL) wrapped up its three-match homestand and the first half of its Horizon League schedule on Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 sweep of visiting Wright State (2-22, 0-7 HL) at the Kress Center. Senior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) recorded her 97th-career solo block in the match, tying the school's all-time record, as the Phoenix won in straight sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) on Parents Day.
Leitermann's record-tying block came in the third set, giving the Phoenix an early 2-1 advantage and helping the home team to a strong 8-3 start en route to the 25-19 win and the sweep. Her 97 career solo blocks are tied with former Green Bay standout Marie Kaland (1992-95), who was in attendance on Saturday. It is the longest-standing career record in the Phoenix record books.
"It's a really good feeling," Leitermann said. "I was really excited and I can't wait until I get the next one to break the record. Marie came up to me after the game and said, 'don't break it until you're back home so I can see it,' but I don't want to wait any longer. It's going to be a good feeling."
In addition to her four total blocks, Leitermann registered 12 kills on 22 attempts, hitting .500 for the match. Junior Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) posted her second double-double of the year, leading the Phoenix with 14 kills while also recording 13 digs. Junior setter Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) also had a strong day, finishing with a match-high 40 assists - her season high for a three-set match.
The Phoenix held a .317 to .163 advantage in hitting percentage, finishing with a 52 kills compared to the Raiders' 35. Green Bay also ended with the edge in assists (51-32), digs (71-55) and blocks (6-5).
Green Bay started slow in set one, as Wright State jumped out to an 8-3 lead. A 7-2 run capped off by a Zabkowicz kill knotted the score at 10-10, but the Raiders took five of the next six points to move back ahead 15-11. The Phoenix chipped away until a Leitermann kill once again tied the score at 17-17, and a kill by Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) gave Green Bay its first lead at 21-20. Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) gave the Phoenix a set point chance with a kill that made it 24-22, and Zabkowicz finished off the 25-22 win with her fifth kill of the set.
The Phoenix got off to a better start in set number two and led 13-9 after a kill by Poel. Wright State battled back to tie the score at 16-16, but another kill by Poel gave Green Bay the lead for good. A pair of late kills by Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) got it to 24-22 in favor of the Phoenix, and a double-block by Mroczenski and Poel sealed the 25-22 victory.
With the help of Leitermann's record block, Green Bay found itself leading 8-3 early and 16-10 midway through the third set. The Raiders would get no closer than three for the remainder of the match, as the Phoenix comfortably finished off the 25-19 win and the 3-0 sweep.
With the first half of the Horizon League slate completed, the Phoenix (2-5) looks to gain momentum from Saturday's win heading into the final seven matches.
"We've been looking for the answers in the first round of Horizon League games," Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch said. "We had such a successful preseason and I really feel like the teams that we played prepared us for the Horizon League season. We know what we want to achieve this year and we can still achieve those goals. We just need to understand that we are in control of our own destiny and to take charge of it, and I feel like we did that today. Now we have a second chance at everybody, and we have to make sure we take advantage of that opportunity."
Green Bay returns to action next weekend when it travels to Ohio for a two-match Horizon League road trip. The Phoenix first faces Youngstown State on Friday at 6 p.m. before heading to Cleveland to take on Cleveland State at 1 p.m.
The Green Bay volleyball program recognized the parents of each player for their continued support and dedication prior to Saturday's match. Check out the gallery below for photos of the pregame ceremony.
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