By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay volleyball team opened competition at the Butler Classic on Friday morning with a 3-0 loss to the host Bulldogs in front of 1,427 fans at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler – Green Bay’s second-straight BIG EAST opponent – improved to 10-2 on the year, while the Phoenix dropped to 4-6 overall.
Green Bay got a strong match from senior Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.), who led all players with 13 kills on a .400 hitting percentage, but Butler hit .380 as a team en route to the 25-19, 25-14 and 25-21 sweep.
"I was really impressed with what Monica brought today and I'm pretty proud of her," Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin said. "She's been patiently waiting for her moment. Her moment came today and she seized it. I've been telling our team that we have to swing to score, and she did that today."
The Phoenix trailed by just one (15-14) midway through the opening set, but a 5-1 Bulldogs run pushed the lead to five and forced head Franklin to call her second timeout. Green Bay took three of the next four points, capped off by a Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Penn.) kill, to cut it to 21-18, but the home team scored four of the final five points to win 25-19. Sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) had five of her eight kills in the opener to pace the Phoenix attack.
Set number two saw the Bulldogs score 12 of the final 16 points to run away with the 25-14 win and take a 2-0 advantage. Butler hit .500 in the second set and was led by four kills from Erica Stahl. Anderson and Hurley also had four kills apiece for the Phoenix in the second.
Anderson had an impressive showing with seven kills in the third set, but it wasn’t enough as Butler held off the Phoenix for the 25-21 win and the sweep. After trailing by as many as eight (14-6), Anderson helped Green Bay cut it to three on four different occasions, including 24-21, but a kill by Butler’s Belle Obert put the Phoenix away.
"Butler is a strong team and they played very good volleyball today," Franklin said. "They've got a good thing going here and I'm really impressed with what they do. We're looking forward to bouncing back and having a better day tomorrow."
Obert led Butler with 10 kills, while three other players had at least seven. Sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) continued her solid start to the season on Friday with 33 assists, while Hurley recorded her first career double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.
The Phoenix returns to action tomorrow at the Butler Classic with contests against Toledo (10 a.m.) and UT Martin (1 p.m.).
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