Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The
Green Bay volleyball team (15-13, 6-8 HL) begins its quest for the 2012 Horizon
League Championship on Friday, as the fifth-seeded Phoenix will face
fourth-seeded Loyola (16-11, 8-6 HL) in quarterfinal action at 4 p.m. CT at
Woodling Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.
The winner of the Green Bay-Loyola match will face either
No. 1 Cleveland State or No. 2 UIC in the semifinals on Saturday, depending on
the winner of the No. 3 Valparaiso-No. 6 Youngstown State contest. Cleveland
State will play the lowest remaining seed.
The top-seeded Vikings earned the right to host the
2012 Horizon League Championship by virtue of their 13-1 record in conference
play (21-6 overall). The top six teams in the regular season standings qualified
for the league championship. The winner of Sunday's title match (1 p.m. CT) earns
an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Fans can follow Green
Bay's quarterfinal match against Loyola with live
stats and free live video
on the Horizon League Network. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green
Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will
also be posting live updates throughout the match and the tournament.
SCOUTING THE RAMBLERS
Green Bay split its
regular season contests against Loyola, falling 3-2 in Chicago on Oct. 6 before winning 3-0 at the Kress Center on Nov. 2. The Phoenix was dominant on the defensive end in the
recent sweep, holding the Ramblers to a .071 hitting percentage and finishing
with a 13-4 advantage in total team blocks. The Oct. 6 meeting resulted in a
heartbreaking loss for the Phoenix, as the visitors surged out to a 2-0 lead
before dropping three close ones in sets three through five.
Loyola is led by senior
transfer Anna Eytchison, who picked up All-Horizon League and Newcomer of the Year honors earlier this week. Eytchison finished the regular
season second in the conference in kills with 446 (4.37 per set), and has
recorded 20 or more kills in 11 matches this year. A total of four Ramblers
landed on the All-Newcomer Team, as freshmen Brittany Brown (1,052 assists,
10.12 per set), Stephanie Kinane (530 digs, 5.10 per set) and Kathleen Vogel
(246 kills, 2.46 per set) joined Eytchison on the seven-member squad.
LAST TIME OUT
The Phoenix went 1-1
during the regular season's final weekend, sweeping
Wright State 3-0 last Friday before falling
3-0 to Valparaiso on Saturday in a pair of road matches. Groth notched a
match-high 27 digs in the sweep of the Raiders to move her past former Phoenix
standout Megan Elfering (1,789 from 2005-08) on Green Bay's all-time list.
Groth now has 1,836 for her career. Leitermann had a team-high 12 kills in the
win, hitting .417 for the match.
Groth then broke her own
single-season record of 659 digs (2011) with 22 more against the Crusaders,
pushing her 2012 total to 665. Lyndsay
Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.) led the Phoenix offense at Valpo, registering a
team-best 11 kills.
Green Bay enters the 2012
Horizon League tournament having won five of its last eight contests.
DOING MORE ON DEFENSE
The Phoenix has been one
of the top defensive squads in the Horizon League in 2012, leading the way in
blocks per set (2.35) and digs per set (18.58). The digs per set average
currently ranks sixth among all NCAA Division I schools, while Groth's 6.27
average is first in the league and third nationally. In addition, Phoenix
junior Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin,
Wis.) ranks second among all Horizon League players in blocks per set (1.20).
Green Bay volleyball head
coach Debbie Kirch joined host Ryan Hartwig in studio on Wednesday for
this week's episode of Match Point. Kirch recaps the team's recent awards and
previews the 2012 Horizon League tournament.
Green Bay needs three victories
in Cleveland to win the 2012 Horizon League Championship and earn a trip to the
NCAA Tournament. It would be the school's second trip to the Big Dance, as
Kirch's squad qualified in 2003 by winning the conference tournament title.
For the latest and most up-to-date information
on Green Bay Athletics and Green Bay Volleyball, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.