GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With the first half of the Horizon League season in the books, the Green Bay volleyball team (11-10, 2-5 HL) is set to open the second half of its conference slate this weekend with a pair of road matches in the state of Ohio. The Phoenix first travels to Youngstown to take on Youngstown State (12-9, 2-5 HL) at Beeghly Center on Friday (6 p.m. CT) before heading to Cleveland to face Cleveland State (14-6, 6-1 HL) on Saturday (1 p.m. CT) at Woodling Gymnasium.
Fans can follow Friday's match at Youngstown State with live stats and free live video, while live stats will also be available for Saturday's contest at Cleveland State. Links can be found on the volleyball schedule page on GreenBayPhoenix.com. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the match.
Saturday, Oct. 20 - 1 p.m.
Green Bay at Cleveland State [Live Stats]
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Youngstown State enters Friday's contest with the same Horizon League record as the Phoenix (2-5), but Green Bay owns the tiebreaker for the sixth spot in the conference standings thanks to its 3-2 win over the Penguins on Sept. 22 at the Kress Center. Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) paced the Phoenix in the win with 18 kills, 21 digs and eight blocks, while junior Jenna Cavanaugh led the Penguins with 19 kills of her own.
Friday's match will feature the Horizon League's top two blocking teams, as the Phoenix ranks first (2.31) and the Penguins rank second (2.16) in blocks per set. Cavanaugh leads the conference individually with 1.26 blocks per set, while Green Bay's Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) is close behind at 1.23.
Cleveland State sits atop the conference at the halfway point, owning a 6-1 Horizon League record. The Vikings took the first meeting between the two teams on Sept. 21 in Green Bay, a match in which the visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead and denied a valiant Phoenix comeback attempt.
CSU is one of the top offensive teams in the Horizon League, leading the way in hitting percentage (.252), kills (14.33) and assists (13.33). Marie Frease leads the conference in hitting percentage at .352, while Kara Koch is tops in the league in kills with 348 (4.83 per set).
The Phoenix closed the first half of its Horizon League schedule with Saturday's sweep of the Raiders, a match in which senior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) recorded her 97th career solo block. The total tied former Green Bay standout Marie Kaland's (1992-95) school record - the longest-standing career mark in the Phoenix record books. Also on Saturday, senior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) registered 20 more digs to push her league-leading dig total to 501. Valparaiso's Taylor Root (466) is the only other player in the conference with more than 400 digs on the year, and Groth is currently ranked second among all NCAA Division I players in digs per set with 6.19.
Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch joined host Ryan Hartwig in studio for this week's episode of Match Point. The two recapped the team's 2-1 homestand last week and previewed the second half of the Horizon League season. Watch this week's episode below.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Following the two-match Ohio road swing, the Phoenix returns to the Kress Center next weekend to begin its final regular season homestand. Green Bay welcomes in-state rival Milwaukee on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m., kicking off a three-match stretch on its home court that wraps up Nov. 2-3 against Loyola and UIC.
###For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics and Green Bay Volleyball, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @GBPhoenix @GBPhoenixVB and @RyanHartwig
Like Green Bay Phoenix Athletics and Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball on Facebook.