By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – With a tie for first-place in the Horizon League standings on the line, the Green Bay volleyball team suffered a 3-1 (25-21, 24-26, 25-21, 25-21) road loss at Milwaukee on Friday night at the Klotsche Center. The Phoenix dropped to 8-9 overall and 3-2 in league play, while the Panthers improved to 9-8 overall and a perfect 5-0 in conference action.
Sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) led all players with a career-high 17 kills in the match, maintaining an impressive .536 hitting percentage. Freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) also reached double-figures for the Phoenix on Friday, tallying 13 kills, while sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) posted a double-double with 48 assists and 10 digs.
Milwaukee out-hit Green Bay .291 to .222 over the four sets, highlighted by a .515 hitting percentage in the fourth. Julie Kolinske led four Panthers in double-figures with 16 kills, hitting .343 for the match.
The Panthers used a 4-0 run to move ahead 14-10 in the opener and pushed its lead to as many as seven (22-15) before finishing off the 25-21 win. Milwaukee’s Nicole Latzig led the way in the first set, recording six of her 13 kills, while four different Phoenix players had three kills.
"I think at the beginning we were allowing Milwaukee to set the tone of the match," Green Bay head coach Michaela Franklin said. "If you bring the kind of energy we came out with, you're not going to win a lot of matches. We played well in spurts, but just weren't able to do it for an extended period of time tonight, and that was really a factor in the entire match."
Milwaukee threatened to take a commanding 2-0 advantage, leading 24-21 in set number two, but Green Bay ended with a 5-0 rally to tie the contest at 1-1. Senior Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) got the run started with her first kill of the night, and sophomore Sophie Jaskulske (Maplewood, Minn.) drilled home a pair of her career-best six kills down the stretch to end it at 26-24.
Green Bay came out strong in the third, opening up a 5-2 lead early on, but Milwaukee regained control and built a 16-9 lead of its own thanks to a 6-1 run. The Panthers extended their lead to 10 at 23-13, but a 6-0 Phoenix run cut it to four and forced a UWM timeout. Green Bay got to within three (24-21) after a double block by Mroczenski and Jaskulske, but the Panthers avoided another Phoenix comeback and closed out the 25-21 win on a kill by Kolinske.
A kill by Hurley gave Green Bay an 18-17 lead late in the fourth, but the Panthers rattled off three straight points to move ahead 20-18 and force a Phoenix timeout. Another Hurley kill got it back to one after the break, but the hosts scored five of the final seven points, capped off by Latzig’s 13th kill, to claim the set 25-21 and the match 3-1.
Green Bay wraps up its four-match road stretch next Tuesday with its final non-conference contest of the season at DePaul. Match time is set for 6 p.m. CT in Chicago.
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