Phoenix Welcomes Panthers Friday for Important League Battle

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
Release: October 24, 2012
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Green Bay and Milwaukee enter Friday's match tied for fifth place in the Horizon League standings.

By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)

GREEN BAY, Wis. ( - With just five matches remaining on the regular season schedule, the Green Bay volleyball team (12-11, 3-6 HL) opens an important three-match homestand this Friday when it welcomes Horizon League rival Milwaukee (8-14, 3-6 HL) to the Kress Center at 7 p.m. Friday also marks Green Bay's breast cancer awareness match, as well as alumni day.

Fans can follow Friday's match between the Phoenix and the Panthers with live video and live stats on The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the match.

Milwaukee, which was picked to finish first in the Horizon League's preseason poll, is currently sitting lower than projected in the conference standings thanks in part to a season filled with injuries. The Panthers have lost five of their last six matches, including three in a row. Milwaukee went 0-2 last weekend, suffering a pair of road losses at Cleveland State (3-0) and Youngstown State (3-1).

With only six teams qualifying for the Horizon League Tournament in mid-November, both the Phoenix and the Panthers enter Friday's match in a tie for fifth place in the conference standings. Youngstown State is also tied for fifth, owning a 3-6 record in league play (13-10 overall). Green Bay holds the tiebreaker over the Penguins after sweeping the season series with a pair of 3-2 victories.

Green Bay is looking to snap a nine-match losing streak against Milwaukee, as the Phoenix last defeated the Panthers on Oct. 3, 2008 at the Kress Center. Despite the losing streak, Green Bay has played Milwaukee tough as of late, as three of the last four matches have gone five sets, including each of the last two.

In the first meeting between the two teams this season on Sept. 28, the Phoenix stormed back from an 0-2 deficit at the Klotsche Center to tie the match at 2-2, but the Panthers prevailed 15-7 in the deciding fifth set. Milwaukee's Julie Kolinske registered a match-high 22 kills, while Green Bay's Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) posted a team-high 20 kills, hitting .471.

Green Bay went 1-1 on its Horizon League road trip to Ohio this past weekend, defeating Youngstown State 3-2 on Friday before falling 3-0 to first-place Cleveland State on Saturday.

Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) led the Phoenix with a team-high 17 kills in the win over the Penguins, hitting .300 on the night. The senior also paced Green Bay with seven blocks, including her school-record 98th-career solo block that moved her ahead of former Phoenix standout Marie Kaland (97 from 1992-95) on the all-time list. Freshman Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) also had a strong match on Friday filling in for the injured Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.), posting career-highs in kills (13) and digs (8).

Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) had a match-high 25 digs in Saturday's loss at Cleveland State, moving her digs per set total to 6.16. The figure currently ranks first in the Horizon League and third among all NCAA Division I players. In addition, Groth now has 1,719 digs in her career, just 70 shy of tying Megan Elfering's (2005-08) school record of 1,789.

As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Green Bay volleyball program is holding a number of activities this week to help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Highlighting the efforts is the breast cancer awareness auction on, which ends on Friday at 7:45 p.m. CT during the match. T-shirts ($20) and pink Phoenix logos ($1) are also being sold leading up to and during the match. For more information on the online auction and all of Green Bay volleyball's efforts, click here.

The Green Bay volleyball program will be honoring all alumni in attendance between sets two and three of Friday's match against Milwaukee. In addition, as a tie-in with the breast cancer awareness match, Phoenix alum Jill Smits Damrow (2002-05) will be addressing the Kress Center crowd pregame to talk about the importance of breast cancer awareness and research. The Green Bay volleyball program initially began its awareness and fundraising efforts in 2005 when Damrow's mother developed the disease prior to her senior campaign.

With just five matches remaining on the regular season schedule, the Green Bay volleyball team (12-11, 3-6 HL) opens an important three-match homestand this Friday when it welcomes Horizon League rival Milwaukee (8-14, 3-6 HL) to the Kress Center at 7 p.m. Friday also marks Green Bay's breast cancer awareness match, as well as alumni day.

Green Bay volleyball head coach Debbie Kirch joined host Ryan Hartwig in studio on Wednesday to preview the team's breast cancer awareness match against Milwaukee, as well as recap the team's recent road trip to Ohio.

Green Bay wraps up its three-match homestand next weekend when it hosts the Horizon League's two Chicago schools. The Phoenix first welcomes Loyola to the Kress Center on Friday, Nov. 2 for a 7 p.m. meeting, and then hosts UIC the following day at 2 p.m. Both teams are ahead of the Phoenix in the conference standings, as Loyola (15-7, 7-2 HL) is currently second and UIC (14-11, 6-3 HL) is fourth.


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