By: Ryan Hartwig (@GBHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Winners of three straight matches and four of the last five, the red-hot Green Bay volleyball team (12-12, 7-4 HL) welcomes first-place Milwaukee (14-9, 10-1 HL) to the Kress Center on Saturday for Senior Night battle at 7 p.m. It will mark the final regular season home contest of 2013 for the Phoenix.
Fans unable to make it to the Kress Center this weekend can follow the match with free live video on the Horizon League Network and 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 the matches.
Saturday’s match between the Phoenix and the Panthers will air on a tape-delayed basis on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. Chris Mehring will handle the play-by-play duties, while Brian Nicol will provide the color commentary. The broadcast will first air on Monday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Visit www.TWCSportsChannel.com for more information.
Green Bay is coming off a successful weekend in which it defeated UIC (3-0) and Valparaiso (3-2) last Friday and Saturday at the Kress Center. The victories vaulted the Phoenix into sole possession of third place in the Horizon League standings and clinched one of the six spots in the conference tournament.
Freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) led the way on Friday night, registering 11 kills and 10 digs as the Phoenix swept the Flames 3-0. Green Bay’s defense recorded 11 team blocks in the three-setter and held UIC to just a .037 hitting percentage.
The defense was strong again on Saturday in Green Bay’s 3-2 comeback win over second-place Valparaiso, as the Phoenix posted 15 more team blocks and sophomore Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) registered a career-high 32 digs – the most by any Horizon League player in a match this season. Sophomore Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) also had a career day against the Crusaders, posting her first double-double with a career-best 21 kills and 16 digs. It was just the second league loss of the season for Valpo (22-5, 8-2 HL), which defeated Milwaukee down I-43 the previous night.
KASAL, BAUER SWEEP HL AWARDS
Green Bay swept the Horizon League Player of the Week awards for the first time in school history on Monday when Kasal (Offensive) and Bauer (Defensive) were both recognized by the conference office. Kasal averaged 3.75 kills per set in the wins over UIC and Valpo and hit .291 for the weekend, while Bauer had a 5.88 digs-per-set average, recording 47 total digs in the two matches.
“We are thrilled for Taylor and Jillian,” Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin said. “They were both impressive statistically on the weekend, but more important than their stats were their on-court presence and their competitive demeanor, which helped lead us to a pair of victories.”
Kasal and Bauer became the third and fourth weekly award-winners for the Phoenix this season, marking the most in any single season in school history. Senior Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.) was named Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 26 and classmate Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2.
Green Bay has three players who lead the Horizon League in their respective individual statistical categories. Bauer is first in the conference in total digs (466) and digs per set (4.96), Hurley is first in kills (297) and kills per set (3.41) and sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) is first in assists (998) and assists per set (10.73). For the complete Horizon League stat leaders, click here.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
Milwaukee (14-9, 10-1 HL) started Horizon League play with nine straight wins before falling to Valparaiso 3-1 at home last Friday. The Panthers took the first meeting of the year against Green Bay 3-1 at the Klotsche Center on Oct. 11 despite a career-high 17 kills by Phoenix sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.).
Milwaukee has been efficient on the offensive end in 2013, leading the Horizon League in kills (13.53), assists (12.67) and hitting percentage (.222). In conference matches, UWM is hitting .280 and averaging nearly 16 kills per set.
The Panthers are paced by junior Julie Kolinske and senior Rachel Neuberger, who rank second and third in kills per set behind Green Bay’s Shannon Hurley. Kolinske has a team-high 258 kills (3.19 per set) on the year, while Neuberger is close behind with 254 (3.14 per set). Neuberger is just four kills away from 1,000 for her career and ranks first in the league in hitting percentage (.365).
Green Bay will honor its seniors prior to Saturday night’s match against Milwaukee. The six-member 2013 senior class is comprised of Monica Anderson, Sabrina Marunowski, Katie Mroczenski, Leah Poel, Leah Van Zeeland and student assistant Lyndsay Zabkowicz, who played for the Phoenix from 2010-12.
For tickets to Green Bay’s match against Milwaukee, 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.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE
Green Bay is on the road for the final weekend of the regular season, traveling to Cleveland State (Friday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.) and Youngstown State (Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m.).
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