By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay volleyball team (8-10, 3-2 HL) returns home this weekend for a pair of Horizon League contests following a four-match road stretch that lasted nearly three weeks. The Phoenix first welcomes Youngstown State (11-9, 3-2 HL) to the Kress Center on Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Cleveland State (12-6, 2-3 HL) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Fans unable to make it out to the Kress Center this weekend can follow both matches with free live video on the Horizon League Network, as well as live stats. Links can also 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 weekend.
Friday, Oct. 18
7 p.m. – Green Bay vs. Youngstown State [Live Stats | Live Video]
Saturday, Oct. 19
4 p.m. – Green Bay vs. Cleveland State [Live Stats | Live Video]
LAST TIME OUT
Green Bay traveled to Chicago on Tuesday for its final non-conference match of the regular season at DePaul. The Phoenix jumped out to a 2-0 advantage and made a furious comeback attempt in the fifth after dropping sets three and four, but the Blue Demons held on for the 3-2 win, improving to a perfect 14-0 in non-conference play (15-3 overall).
The Phoenix looked to be down and out in the fifth, trailing the BIG EAST foe 10-3, but an 8-1 run fueled by four Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) kills helped the relentless road team tie things up at 11-11. Another Hurley kill helped Green Bay grab its first lead of the set at 13-12, but the Blue Demons rattled off the final three points of the match to secure the victory.
Hurley finished with 18 kills, five of which came in the fifth set. Senior Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) posted a career-high 21 kills in the loss and added 10 digs for her seventh double-double of the year. Sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) also recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 51 assists and 14 digs.
Several Phoenix players rank among the Horizon League’s leaders in a number of statistical categories. Green Bay has three of the top four hitters in the league in terms of kills per set, as Hurley is first (3.23), Van Zeeland is third (3.09) and Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.) is fourth (3.07). Sophomore transfers Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) are also both on top of their respective lists, as Riese is first in assists per set (10.5) and Bauer is first in digs per set (4.87). In addition, sophomore Becca Mastey (Pulaski, Wis.) ranks fifth in service aces per set (0.29) and classmate Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) is sixth in hitting percentage (.271).
SCOUTING YOUNGSTOWN STATE
Green Bay and Youngstown State (11-9, 3-2 HL) enter the weekend tied for third place in the Horizon League standings, both owning 3-2 records. The Penguins are coming off a 3-0 win over UIC at home last Saturday, a match in which senior Erika West recorded her 1,000th career dig and fellow senior Jenna Cavanaugh registered an impressive 10 blocks in the three-setter.
YSU boasts one of the Horizon League’s best defenses, leading the way in blocks per set (2.62) and holding opponents to a .171 hitting percentage. Cavanaugh is tops in the league individually in both blocks (86) and blocks per set (1.41).
SCOUTING CLEVELAND STATE
Cleveland State (12-6, 2-3 HL) is coming off a pair of five-set home losses last weekend against UIC and Valparaiso. The Vikings lead all Horizon League schools in a number of stat categories, including hitting percentage (.216), opponent hitting percentage (.161), kills (13.31) and assists (12.22).
Junior Maggie Hannon paces the CSU offense, leading the conference in hitting percentage (.348) and ranking second behind Hurley in kills per set (3.16).
Monica Anderson earned Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Month honors for August/September on Tuesday, Oct. 15 following an impressive start to her senior campaign. Anderson posted 101 kills in the month of September, averaging 3.26 per set while hitting .265. She had double-digit kill totals in six of the team’s 10 matches, including a 21-kill effort in a comeback win over Oakland on Sept. 28. Anderson was also named to the Butler Classic All-Tournament Team on Sept. 21 after registering 34 kills and hitting .405 in the three matches in Indianapolis.
The senior currently ranks fourth among all Horizon League players in kills per set (3.07). She recently tied her career high with 22 kills on Oct. 4 in a tough, five-set loss at Valparaiso. In the classroom, Anderson boasts a 3.905 cumulative grade-point average as a democracy and justice studies major and helped the Phoenix earn a 3.54 team GPA last spring.
FAST START FOR THE PHOENIX
Green Bay’s 3-1 start in Horizon League play this year equaled the best four-match conference start in school history. The Phoenix also began 3-1 in 2003 en route to an 8-1 start, and eventually won the conference tournament and qualified for the program’s first and only NCAA Tournament.
Including Saturday’s meeting with the Vikings, Green Bay has seven matches on its 2013 schedule against opponents who played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Phoenix faced No. 23 Ohio State and Liberty at the NIU Invitational, and played a pair of road matches at Northern Iowa on Sept. 14. Green Bay then welcomed Marquette to the Kress Center for its home opener on Sept. 17, and following Saturday still has one match remaining at defending league champion Cleveland State on Nov. 15.
For tickets to Green Bay’s matches this weekend, visit GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets or order by phone at 920-465-2625. Tickets can also be purchased at the Kress Center box office prior to the match. Adult tickets are only $7 and youth tickets are just $1.
Discounted tickets to Friday’s match against Youngstown State are available for $5 on the Green Bay Phoenix Volleyball Facebook page. Just click the “Claim Offer” button.
BE BOLD, BE BALD
Coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Green Bay’s student section – the Green Bandana Brigade – will be raising money for breast cancer awareness and research by shaving heads on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Union across from the Phoenix Bookstore. Members of the volleyball team will be in attendance to support the cause, and the first 100 students at Friday night’s game will receive a free pink bandana to wear with their traditional green bandana. All fans are encouraged to wear pink to the match, as well as write their names on a pink Phoenix for just $1.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Green Bay is back on the road next weekend to begin the second half of its Horizon League schedule. The Phoenix travels to Oakland on Friday, Oct. 25 for a 6 p.m. meeting with the Golden Grizzlies, and then heads to play Wright State the following day at 4 p.m.
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