GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay volleyball team (13-11, 4-6 HL) will play its final two home games of the regular season this weekend, welcoming Horizon League opponents Loyola (15-9, 7-4) and UIC (15-12, 7-4 HL) to the Kress Center. The Phoenix first hosts the Ramblers on Friday at 7 p.m., and then squares off against the Flames on Saturday at 2 p.m. for Senior Day.
Friday's match also marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Kress Events Center, as the Green Bay volleyball program held the building's first event on Nov. 2, 2007.
Fans can follow Friday's contest between Green Bay and Loyola with live video and live stats on GreenBayPhoenix.com, while live stats will also be available for Saturday's contest against UIC . 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
Loyola defeated Green Bay 3-2 in the first meeting this season on Oct. 6 in Chicago. The Ramblers, currently in third place in the Horizon League standings, have dropped their last two matches. Green Bay has won five of the last six matches against Loyola, and has never lost to the Ramblers at the Kress Center.
UIC started October on a five-game win streak, and went 7-2 overall in the month. The Flames are 2-2 over their last four games, and are coming off a 3-0 win against Youngstown State. UIC defeated Green Bay 3-0 at home in the first meeting this season on Oct. 5.
Green Bay is coming off an important 3-1 victory over Milwaukee on Oct. 26, and has now won three of its last four matches. The victory over Milwaukee marked the first time the Phoenix had taken down the Panthers since the 2008 season, snapping a nine-match skid. Junior setter Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.) directed the Green Bay attack with 49 assists on Friday, helping five teammates record eight or more kills. Junior Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) led the Phoenix with 14. With the win, Green Bay is now in sole possession of fifth place in the Horizon League standings.
Green Bay's three seniors - Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.), Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) and Haley Oelke (Mosinee, Wis.) - will each be recognized on Saturday for their contributions to the Phoenix volleyball program over the last four years.
Groth holds the Green Bay school records for digs in a season (659), digs in a three-set match (29) and digs in a four-set match (38). She is also just 50 digs shy of Megan Elfering's career record of 1,789 digs from 2005-08. The senior standout currently ranks first in the Horizon League and fourth among all NCAA Division I players with 6.11 digs per set, a figure that would break her own single-season record of 5.78 which she set in 2011.
Leitermann recently became Green Bay's career leader in solo blocks, passing Marie Kaland's total of 97 from 1992-95 - the school's longest-standing career record. She went on to tally her 100th career solo block in last Friday's win over Milwaukee. Leitermann is also in Green Bay's top-10 in a number of other career stat categories, including hitting percentage (second, .262), kills (fourth, 966), total blocks (seventh, 357), block assists (eighth, 257), sets played (ninth, 417) and kills per set (10th, 2.32).
Oelke was voted team captain by her teammates in 2012. She joined the Green Bay program as a walk-on in 2009 and for her hard work and dedication was awarded a scholarship for her senior season. Oelke has 71 digs and nine service aces in 41 career appearances.
Green Bay volleyball head coach Debbie Kirch joined host Ryan Hartwig in Kirch's office on Thursday for this week's episode of Match Point. The two recapped the team's big 3-1 win over Milwaukee last week, previewed the upcoming home contests against Loyola and UIC and talked about the impact the Kress Events Center has made on Phoenix volleyball over the past five years.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Following the weekend homestand, the Phoenix will hit the road next weekend to wrap up the regular season at Wright State (Friday, 6 p.m.) and Valparaiso (Saturday, 6 p.m.).
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