GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Looking to secure a spot in next weekend's Horizon League Tournament, the Green Bay volleyball team (14-12, 5-7 HL) wraps up its 2012 regular season this weekend with a pair of conference road matches. The Phoenix first takes on Wright State (2-28, 0-12 HL) on Friday at 6 p.m. CT, and then heads to Valparaiso (18-11, 8-4 HL) for the season finale on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.
Green Bay, which has won five of its last eight contests, can assure itself a spot in the 2012 Horizon League Tournament (Nov. 16-18) by winning one of its final two matches.
Fans can follow both matches this weekend with live stats and free live video via the Horizon League Network. 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 updates throughout the weekend.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Wright State enters Friday's contest at the bottom of the Horizon League (0-12) with an overall record of 2-28. The Raiders have lost 13 straight matches, with their last victory coming on Sept. 18 at their home C.J. McLin Gymnasium. The Phoenix defeated the Raiders 3-0 in the first meeting between the two schools on Oct. 13 at the Kress Center, a match in which senior Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) tied the school record for solo blocks in a career (97). WSU is led by Heidi Splinter, who is fifth in the Horizon League in kills per set, averaging 3.33.
The Crusaders, winners of five of their last six matches, enter the weekend ranked third in the league standings (18-11, 8-4 HL). Valparaiso swept the Phoenix 3-0 in the first meeting this season at the Kress Center on Oct. 12. Valpo finished with a 51-31 advantage in kills in that contest, and Taylor Root registered 34 digs - the most in a three-set match by a Horizon League player this season. Root leads the conference with 659 digs, while Ellen Vanden Berg ranks in the league's top-10 in blocks per set (fourth, 1.11) and hitting percentage (sixth, .286).
Green Bay went 1-1 in its final homestand of the regular season last weekend, defeating Loyola 3-0 on Friday before falling 3-1 to UIC on Saturday. The Phoenix dominated the Ramblers on the defensive end Friday, holding the opposition to a .071 hitting percentage and finishing with a 13-4 advantage in blocks. The Phoenix carried over its momentum to the first set on Saturday, rolling over the Flames 25-12, but ended up dropping the next three sets in the loss. Green Bay's three seniors were honored on Saturday for Senior Day following their final home match.
FOR THE RECORD...
Green Bay senior libero Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) needs just three more digs to break Megan Elfering's school record of 1,789 from 2005-08. Despite recording just six digs as a freshman in 2009, Groth currently has 1,787 digs, averaging an impressive 5.46 digs per set for her career. Groth is also within striking distance of her own school record of 659 digs in a season (2011), as she has 616 in 2012. The senior enters the final weekend of the regular season leading the Horizon League with 6.16 digs per set, a figure that also ranks fourth among all NCAA Division I players.
Led by Groth (6.16), the Phoenix ranks first in the Horizon League and fifth in the NCAA in digs per set (18.48) ... Groth also ranks in the league's top-10 in service aces, averaging 0.24 per set ... Green Bay leads the Horizon League in blocks per set (2.35), paced by Katie Mroczenski's 1.18 average (second) ... Leitermann has pushed her school-record solo blocks total to 100 for her career. The senior topped Marie Kaland's record of 97 from 1992-95 ... Leitermann ranks fourth in the Horizon League in hitting percentage (.289), seventh in blocks per set (0.93) and 10th in kills per set (2.76) ... Leah Poel and Lyndsay Zabkowicz also rank in the league's top-10 in a statistical category, as Poel is third with 10.18 assists per set and Zabkowicz is eighth with 3.01 kills per set.
Green Bay head coach Debbie Kirch joins host Ryan Hartwig in studio to recap the team's final homestand of 2012 and preview this weekend's contests at Wright State and Valpo.
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