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By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Former Green Bay volleyball players Brittany Groth (Oak Creek, Wis.) and Carmen Leitermann (Schofield, Wis.), who starred for the Phoenix from 2009-12, will both play on the United States squad at the Costa Rican Volleyball Series in San Jose, Costa Rica from July 29-Aug. 5. The competition is sponsored by USA Athletes International (USAAI), a non-profit organization that allows amateur athletes to participate in international, Olympic-style events.

Players are selected to the USAAI team based on recommendations from coaches, athletes and other athletics professionals. In addition to statistics and athletic ability, recommendations must also consider character, leadership and academic success.

The USAAI volleyball team will play a total of four matches during the eight-day trip, while also getting to travel and experience the sights and culture that Costa Rica has to offer. In addition, the team will put on a clinic to teach the game of volleyball to local children.

“We are proud of Brittany and Carmen for continuing their volleyball careers after having successful careers at Green Bay,” first-year head coach Michaela Franklin said. “We wish them nothing but the best and we are excited to have them represent Green Bay volleyball in Costa Rica.”

Groth and Leitermann were both All-Horizon League performers for the Phoenix as seniors in 2012 after posting record-breaking seasons. It marked Groth’s second-straight all-league honor, and the first of Leitermann’s career.

A 5-foot-9 libero, Groth was also named to the AVCA All-Midwest Region Team and Honorable Mention All-America after tallying a school-record 680 digs as a senior. She led the Horizon League and ranked third among all NCAA Division I players with 6.24 digs per set in 2012, setting a new single-season school record. Groth was the league’s defensive player of the week three times during her senior campaign and finished her standout career as Green Bay’s all-time digs leader with 1,851.

“Pursuing volleyball beyond my college career has always been a goal of mine,” Groth said. “Words cannot describe how thankful I am to be selected to represent the United States in this event. I cannot think of a more rewarding opportunity than getting to continue playing the game I am passionate about while also playing for my country."

Leitermann, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker, broke Green Bay’s all-time solo blocks record in 2012, finishing with 102 over her four-year career. The previous record of 97, held by Marie Kaland (1992-95), was the longest-standing career mark in the Phoenix record books. Leitermann also ranks in the top-10 in a number of other statistical categories, including fourth in career kills with an even 1,000.

“Being offered the chance to play in Costa Rica for the USA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I couldn’t be more thankful,” Leitermann said. “I cannot wait to continue playing the sport I love with Brittany and our other teammates while also exploring a place that I have never traveled to.”

Groth and Leitermann said they plan to prepare for their trip to Costa Rica by working out and scrimmaging with members of the current Phoenix team periodically throughout the summer.

The USAAI has been participating in international competition since 1992 and supports 15 sports that compete in 25 different countries throughout the world. Stay tuned to GreenBayPhoenix.com to follow Groth and Leitermann in the Costa Rican Volleyball Series.

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