By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
INDIANAPOLIS (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay volleyball team wrapped up its participation at the Butler Classic on a high note on Saturday afternoon, defeating UT Martin 3-0 at Hinkle Fieldhouse after being swept by Toledo earlier in the day. The Phoenix finished the tournament with a 1-2 record, as it also fell to host Butler on Friday.
“It was a good win to round out the tournament and round out the preseason,” said Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin, whose squad will begin Horizon League play next weekend. “I was pleased with the way our team rebounded following the quick turnaround after our Toledo match this morning. The things we talked about between the two matches, the things our team wanted to get better at, we did those things and that was great to see.”
Green Bay (5-7) posted a season-best .302 hitting percentage in the 25-20, 25-19, 25-17 sweep of UT Martin (6-9), helping snap a five-match losing skid.
The senior duo of Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) and Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) combined for 26 of Green Bay’s 42 kills in the contest and both had excellent hitting percentages. Van Zeeland registered 14 kills while hitting .423, and Anderson added 12 kills on 22 swings for a .455 rate.
“I thought (setter) Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) did a great job running the offense, setting the tempo and location,” Franklin said. “I also continue to be very excited for Monica. Her road this preseason has been anything but easy, and she has continued to fight hard and it’s really paying off. She’s setting a great example for our young group.”
Anderson and Riese were both named to the Butler Classic all-tournament team. Anderson registered 34 kills and hit an impressive .405 in the three matches, and Riese finished with an even 100 assists.
After an even start in the first set (11-11), Green Bay used a 7-0 run to open up an 18-11 lead on UT Martin. The Skyhawks got no closer than four the rest of the way, as Van Zeeland’s sixth kill of the opening set delivered the 25-20 victory.
The Phoenix never trailed in the second set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead on a kill by sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) and pushing it to as many as seven (23-16) late. Van Zeeland added five more kills in the 25-19 win, giving the senior her seventh double-digit kill total of the year.
Green Bay raced out to an 11-4 lead in the third and never looked back, extending the lead to as many as nine points (21-12) in the 25-17 rout. Anderson and freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Penn.) had four kills apiece to lead the Phoenix in the third.
Riese posted a match-high 31 assists in the win, helping five players hit above .300. Hurley finished the match with nine kills.
Toledo out-hit Green Bay .294 to .155 in the early match, and was led by 14 kills from Lauren Rafdal. Hurley had 11 kills in the contest for the Phoenix, while Anderson and Van Zeeland contributed nine and eight, respectively. Riese registered a match-high 36 assists in the loss.
Green Bay opens its Horizon League schedule at home next weekend, welcoming Wright State (Sept. 27) and Oakland (Sept. 28) to the Kress Center.
“We are extremely excited to start the Horizon League schedule at home,” Franklin said. “We were really challenged and put through the ringer this preseason, and I know that our team learned a lot of lessons that are going to help us during league play.”
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
Like Green Bay Phoenix Athletics and Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball on Facebook.