GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Playing in front of a raucous home crowd, the Green Bay volleyball team (4-5) welcomed in-state rival Marquette (5-3) to the Kress Center on Tuesday night for its 2013 home opener and its first home match under new head coach Michaela Franklin. Despite the support of the third-largest volleyball crowd (834) in the building’s history, the Phoenix fell to the Golden Eagles 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-21).
“Marquette is a great team,” said Franklin, who was an assistant at Marquette the last four seasons before joining the Phoenix. “They didn’t make a lot of errors and we made a lot of errors. It was a good match for us to open up with at home and a good challenge for us. We continue to tell our team that we schedule challenges like this in the preseason to help us prepare for league play.”
The attendance of 834 spectators on Tuesday night ranks behind only a Sept. 16, 2009 meeting with Wisconsin (1,946) and the first match in Kress Center history against Milwaukee (1,027) on Nov. 2, 2007.
“I was really impressed with the crowd we had and the energy we had from our crowd,” said Franklin. “The Green Bandana Brigade (student section) was awesome. It was exciting to have them and I hope that we’ll have them at all of our home matches.”
Green Bay used the home-court advantage to get off to a strong start in the opening set. The Phoenix led 10-8 after a kill by Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Penn.) and an ace by Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.), but the Golden Eagles took eight of the next 10 points to move ahead 16-12. The Phoenix was able to cut it to three (20-17) late on a Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) kill, but Marquette scored five of the next seven points to earn the 1-0 lead.
Set number two was all Golden Eagles, as the visitors rushed out to a 10-4 lead and finished with a 13-4 run to win 25-12 and move ahead 2-0 in the match. Sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) was a bright spot for the Phoenix in the second, recording five of her team-high 10 kills.
Marquette started fast again in the third, forcing a Green Bay timeout at 11-4. The Phoenix bounced back after the break, cutting it to four (12-8) after a kill by Riese, but the Golden Eagles responded and pushed their lead back to seven (18-11). A 10-5 stretch for the Phoenix had the home team down just two at 23-21, but Marquette claimed the next two points to finish off the sweep.
Gunderson hit .391 and recorded her fourth double-digit kill total of the season. Freshman Autumn Bailey led the Golden Eagles with a match-high 11 kills on a .611 hitting percentage. Marquette out-hit Green Bay .382 to .124 on the night.
The Phoenix returns to tournament action this weekend at the Butler Classic in Indianapolis. Green Bay will play host Butler on Friday at 10 a.m. before taking on Toledo (10 a.m.) and UT-Martin (1 p.m.) on Saturday.
MORE CHANCES TO WATCH Tuesday’s match between the Phoenix and the Golden Eagles will be aired on a tape-delayed basis on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. The broadcast will first air at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. To see the full replay schedule, click here.
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