By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay
volleyball team (14-11, 5-6 HL) opened up its final homestand of the regular
season Friday night in grand fashion, crushing visiting Loyola (15-10, 7-5 HL)
3-0 at the Kress Center. The Phoenix has now won four of its last five matches,
including the last three on its home court.
Green Bay was dominant on the defensive end in the
25-22, 25-22, 25-15 win, holding the Ramblers to a .071 hitting percentage. The
Phoenix finished with a 13-4 advantage in total team blocks, led by Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.) and
Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.), who had
"I was really happy with how well we played defensively
last Friday night
against Milwaukee, and we knew that
if we played that way again tonight that we could beat Loyola," Phoenix head
coach Debbie Kirch said. "We were
really disciplined against their outside hitters, we served the ball well and
our block was outstanding. Overall we had a great defensive match."
On the offensive end, junior Lyndsay Zabkowicz
(Oak Creek, Wis.) led the Phoenix with 13 kills, hitting an impressive .355.
Poel finished with a match-high 31 assists to go along with 10 digs, giving the
junior her team-high 13th double-double of the year.
The Phoenix also celebrated five seasons of playing
its home games at the Kress Events Center on Friday, as the Green Bay
volleyball program held the building's first
event on Nov. 2, 2007.
After a back-and-forth start in the opening set, a Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) block capped off an 8-2 run that gave the
Phoenix an 18-12 lead. The Ramblers battled back and cut it to two at 21-19
after a kill by Laura Purcell, but that would be as close as the visitors would
get. Green Bay pushed its lead to 24-20 and a Leitermann kill closed it out at
Set two saw another competitive start, as the two teams
were tied at 12-12 at the midway point. Back-to-back kills by Zabkowicz broke a
17-17 tie to give the Phoenix a two-point advantage, but the Ramblers responded
to knot things back up at 20-20. Another Zabkowicz kill followed by a Loyola error
moved the Phoenix back in front by a pair, but a double-block followed by an Anna
Eytchison kill made it 22-22, forcing Kirch to call her final timeout.
Zabkowicz hammered home her seventh kill of the set out
of the timeout to give the Phoenix a 23-22 lead, and Leitermann closed out the
25-22 win with a kill of her own, giving her team the 2-0 lead.
Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.)
had 14 of her match-high 20 digs in the second set. The senior is now just 30
digs away from tying Megan Elfering (1,789 from 2005-08) atop Green Bay's
all-time digs list.
Green Bay also held a 2-0 lead in the first meeting between
the two teams this season on
Oct. 6 in Chicago, but the Ramblers stormed back to earn a 3-2 victory. The
Phoenix made sure history didn't repeat itself on Friday night, as the hosts pummeled
Loyola 25-15 in set three to secure the 3-0 sweep.
The Phoenix forced the Ramblers to burn two quick
timeouts after two straight blocks gave Green Bay an 11-5 lead. The breaks only
delayed the inevitable, however, as a 4-0 run extended Green Bay's advantage to
18-11, and a block by freshman Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) gave the Phoenix its largest lead at 24-14. Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) secured
the set and the match moments later with her ninth kill.
Green Bay held the Ramblers to a -.075 hitting
percentage in the third, forcing 14 errors. The Phoenix ended the match with a
.217 to .071 advantage in hitting percentage and a 40-36 edge in kills. Eytchison
led all players with 15 kills for the Ramblers.
With just three matches remaining on the regular
season schedule, the Phoenix - currently fifth in the league standings - hopes Friday's
win will help build momentum heading into the final stretch.
"We talked a lot this week about building the momentum
and beating teams that we didn't beat in the first round of league play," Kirch
said. "It's all about getting better and I feel like we're doing that, but at
the same time we know that tomorrow is another match and we have to move on."
Green Bay wraps up the home portion of its 2012 season
on Saturday afternoon, welcoming UIC to the Kress Center for a 2 p.m. meeting. Saturday
is also Senior Day for the Phoenix, as Groth, Leitermann and Haley Oelke (Mosinee, Wis.) will each
be recognized following the match.
Prior to the start of Friday's match, Carmen Leitermann was presented with an honorary, record-setting game ball by former Phoenix standout Marie Nicol (Kaland). Leitermann recently broke Nicol's career solo blocks record of 97 (1992-95), and her total is now at 100. It was the longest-standing career mark in the Phoenix record books.
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
Bay Phoenix Athletics and
Bay Phoenix Volleyball on