By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Following the short break from tournament action to host its home opener on Tuesday, the Green Bay volleyball team (4-5) heads to its third and final non-conference tourney this weekend – the Butler Classic in Indianapolis. The Phoenix is slated to play the host Bulldogs on Friday morning at 10 a.m. before wrapping up the event on Saturday with contests against Toledo (10 a.m.) and UT Martin (1 p.m.).
Fans can follow the Phoenix at the Butler Classic with live stats. Links can be found on the volleyball schedule page on GreenBayPhoenix.com. The official Green Bay volleyball Twitter (@GBPhoenixVB) and Facebook (Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball) accounts will also be posting live updates throughout the tournament.
SCOUTING GREEN BAY
Green Bay was coming off of four straight wins and a tournament title at the Auburn Active Ankle Challenge heading into last weekend, but the Phoenix has since dropped a doubleheader at Northern Iowa as well as its home opener against Marquette on Tuesday to slide to 4-5 overall.
Senior Leah Van Zeeland leads Green Bay with 109 kills (3.11 per set), while sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) has engineered the Phoenix offense with 339 assists (9.97 per set). Sophomore Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) has a team-high 181 digs on the year, and senior Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) has 41 total blocks (1.17 per set).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Butler, which is hosting its second four-team tournament in as many weekends, is off to an impressive start in 2013. The Bulldogs boast a 9-2 record – good for second-best in the BIG EAST – falling only at Arizona and against No. 14 Michigan State. Junior Belle Obert has been a key player in Butler’s success with 133 kills, 82 digs and 40 blocks.
Toledo is off to a .500 start (5-5), most recently going 1-2 at the North Harbour Marriott Challenge in Portland, Ore. The Rockets knocked off host Portland 3-2 for their lone win of the tournament, and fell 3-0 to both Oregon State and UC Davis. Leading the way for Toledo in 2013 has been Lauren Rafdal, who has registered a team-best 135 kills to go along with 74 digs.
UT Martin (6-6) is on a four-match losing streak after winning six of its first eight matches. The Skyhawks went 0-4 last weekend at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, falling to South Alabama, Arkansas State, Nicholls State and host Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Junior Emily Keaton leads the way with 144 kills and 111 digs on the year, while fellow junior Allie Whimpey has 115 kills.
LAST TIME OUT
Green Bay welcomed in-state rival Marquette to the Kress Center for its 2013 home opener on Tuesday. Despite 10 kills from sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) and the support of the third-largest volleyball crowd (834) in the building’s history, head coach Michaela Franklin dropped her home debut against her former team 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-21).
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Following the Butler Classic, Green Bay returns to the Kress Center for its opening weekend of Horizon League play Sept. 27-28. The Phoenix will face Wright State on Friday night at 7 p.m. before welcoming new league member Oakland to campus on Saturday at 4 p.m.
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