YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team (12-10, 3-5 HL) opened the second half of its Horizon League schedule Friday night with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Youngstown State (12-10, 2-6 HL) at Beeghly Center. After seeing its 2-0 lead disappear, the Phoenix came away with a 21-19 win in the deciding fifth set to pick up the 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 16-25, 21-19 result.
Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) led the Phoenix with a team-high 17 kills, hitting .300 for the match. The senior also paced Green Bay with seven blocks, including her school-record 98th solo block of her career, moving her past former Phoenix standout Marie Kaland (97 from 1992-95).
The Penguins had three match point chances in the first-to-15 fifth set, but the Phoenix was able to deny each one and ultimately finish off its third win in the last four matches.
With YSU leading 14-13, Green Bay freshman Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) drove home one of her career-high 13 kills to keep the Phoenix alive. Moments later with the Phoenix down 15-14, junior Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) recorded her 14th kill of the match to once again even the score.
Green Bay had a pair of match point tries of its own (16-15, 18-17), but a Phoenix attack error and a kill by YSU's Missy Hundelt knotted things back up at 18-18. A kill by Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) put the Phoenix on top 19-18, and a double-block by Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) and Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) gave the visitors another match point chance at 20-19. Anderson delivered the final blow with her 11th kill of the contest, giving Green Bay the 21-19 win and its second five-set win over the Penguins this season.
"Obviously we would have liked to finish the match in three sets after winning the first two, but I'm proud of how we hung in there and fought off Youngstown's match point chances," Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch said. "I'm very pleased with how Kasal responded. By the end of the match she was playing six rotations and did a great job."
Kasal, playing in just her eighth match of the season, finished the contest with 13 kills, eight digs and a pair of blocks.
Poel had a solid all-around night for the Phoenix, finishing with a match-high 52 assists to go along with six kills and 15 digs. Senior Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.), who entered Friday's match ranked second in the NCAA in digs per set (6.19), led five Phoenix players with double-digit dig totals with 22. Hundelt paced the Penguins with a match-high 19 kills to go along with 20 digs and five blocks.
The Phoenix has a quick turnaround, wrapping up its two-match Ohio road swing at Cleveland State on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.
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