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By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Under the direction of first-year head coach Michaela Franklin, the Green Bay volleyball team will open its 2013 season this weekend at the Northern Illinois Invitational in DeKalb, Ill. The Phoenix will play the host NIU Huskies in Friday night’s opener (7 p.m.) before facing No. 23 Ohio State (12 p.m.) and Liberty (5 p.m.) on Saturday at Victor E. Court.

Franklin, who got her start as an assistant at NIU from 2006-08, will begin her head-coaching career in challenging fashion, as all three of Green Bay’s opponents this weekend won at least 21 matches in 2012 and two (OSU and Liberty) played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

To watch a video of Franklin previewing her opening weekend as a collegiate head coach, click here.

LIVE COVERAGE
Fans unable to make the trip to the NIU Invitational can follow the action with free live stats and pay-per-view video via NIUHuskies.com. Links can be found on the volleyball schedule page on GreenBayPhoenix.com or on NIU’s tournament page. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the weekend.

Friday, August 30
7 p.m. – Green Bay at Northern Illinois [Live Stats | Live Video]

Saturday, August 31
12 p.m. – Green Bay vs. #23 Ohio State [Live Stats]
5 p.m. – Green Bay vs. Liberty [Live Stats]
*All times Central

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
All three opponents in the NIU Invitational won at least 21 matches in 2012, and two played in the NCAA Tournament. Big Ten power and nationally-ranked (No. 23) Ohio State went 23-11 last year and ended the regular season ranked 14th in the nation. The Buckeyes advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and entered this season with the 11th-ranked recruiting class according to PrepVolleyball.com. Liberty was 25-8 a year ago and won the Big South regular season and tournament before falling to Minnesota in the opening round of the NCAA tourney. The host Huskies went 21-15 and advanced to the Mid-American Conference tournament title match.

SCOUTING THE PHOENIX
Green Bay returns 10 players from a team that went 15-14 overall and 6-8 in Horizon League play in 2012, including a group of five seniors. The Phoenix also welcomes a trio of newcomers in 2013, including sophomore libero Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.), who played at Ohio State last season.

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Following the NIU Invitational, the Phoenix heads to Auburn, Ala., Sept. 5-6 for the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge. Green Bay will face Troy, Auburn and Mercer in its second of three non-conference tournaments.

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For 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

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