By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Green Bay’s Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) has been tabbed as the Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week following her MVP performance at the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge. The award, given for the period of Sept. 2-8, marks the first in the senior’s career.
Van Zeeland led the Phoenix (4-2) to a perfect 3-0 record and the tournament title in Auburn, Ala., accumulating a team-high 44 kills while also adding 34 digs and nine blocks.
“This award for Leah is a great example of hard work paying off,” Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin said. “She works extremely hard and she is a big leader for us on the court, and that certainly showed throughout the Auburn tournament. She’s just a great person to have in our program and someone to set a good example for our young group.”
Van Zeeland opened the tourney with a career-high 20 kills on a .326 hitting percentage in Green Bay’s 3-1 comeback win over Troy on Thursday afternoon. She also added 15 digs and four blocks in the match. Van Zeeland recorded another double-double in the thrilling, five-set victory over Auburn on Thursday night, recording 16 kills and 11 digs. The host Tigers were previously unbeaten and had recently knocked off No. 10 Nebraska. The senior wrapped up her MVP and All-Tournament effort with an eight-kill, eight-dig showing in Friday’s 3-0 sweep of Mercer.
Van Zeeland was named Offensive Player of the Week by the Horizon League just one week after classmate Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) earned Defensive Player of the Week honors. It marks the first time in school history that Green Bay has had back-to-back honorees to start a season, and they are the first back-to-back weekly award winners for the Phoenix since 2010 (Carmen Leitermann (Defensive) Nov. 1, Whitney Schott (Offensive) Nov. 8). In addition, Van Zeeland is Green Bay’s first Offensive Player of the Week since Leitermann earned the award on Oct. 3, 2011.
Green Bay is back in action on Saturday when it travels to Cedar Falls, Iowa for a pair of matches against Northern Iowa. The Phoenix and the Panthers will square off at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the McLeod Center.
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Van Zeeland Talks Auburn Tournament