By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Sophomore Mikaela Gunderson (Casco, Wis.) had a team-best 14 kills and freshman Shannon Hurley (Connelsville, Pa.) totaled 13, but Green Bay (12-13, 7-5 HL) was unable to defeat Horizon League leading Milwaukee (159, 11-1 HL) on Saturday night at the Kress Events Center, falling 3-1 (25-23, 24-26, 25-16, 25-21).
"I think we played good volleyball in spurts, but we just kind of went flat at times," Phoenix head coach Michaela Franklin said. "We need to combine that good volleyball with consistent passion and intensity. I thought Milwaukee stayed steady the entire time and that's what won the match for them."
The teams battled back and forth early in set one, with neither team leading by more than one until a kill from Hurley made it 21-19. Milwaukee responded with the next three points before Hurley tied the set at 22-22. The Panthers won three of the final four points to take the set 25-23. Gunderson had seven kills in the set for the Phoenix.
Green Bay jumped ahead early in set two, with two kills from Hurley and a kill from setter Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) forcing a Panther timeout at 7-4. The lead extended to 9-4 before Milwaukee rallied to cut the deficit to 13-12. Sophomore Taylor Kasal (Westmont, Ill.) registered a kill and an ace as Green Bay scored the next three points to move in front 16-12.
Milwaukee rallied to tie the set at 23 and 24, but Hurley’s ninth kill gave the Phoenix its second set point at 25-24 and a Panther error ended set two to even the match heading to intermission. Through two sets, Green Bay had 34 kills and a .274 hitting percentage while Milwaukee had 32 kills and a .275 hitting percentage.
It was Milwaukee that jumped out early in set three, claiming a 10-6 lead. Green Bay was able to close to two points but got no closer the rest of the set before falling 25-16.
Milwaukee jumped out in front 9-6 early in set four and while the teams played evenly from there, the Phoenix was unable to rally to tie the set or take the lead. The Panthers eventually closed to win the set 25-21.
Kasal also reached double figures with 10 kills, and Riese directed the Phoenix attack with 45 assists. Sophomore libero Jillian Bauer (Verona, Wis.) totaled 21 digs and Hurley added 13 for the double-double.
Prior to the match, the Phoenix honored six seniors – Monica Anderson (Cottage Grove, Wis.), Sabrina Marunowski (Milwaukee, Wis.), Katie Mroczenski (New Berlin, Wis.), Leah Poel (Jenison, Mich.), Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) and Lyndsay Zabkowicz (Oak Creek, Wis.).
"The big thing we mentioned after the match is to not let the loss ruin the moment," Franklin said. "I thought we had a really nice ceremony for our seniors before the match. I just told them that overall they did a great job in the Kress Center this year and just thanked them for being a huge part in the transition of this program with the new coaching staff. They're a special group that has definitely helped pave the way."
Green Bay will finish the season with two contests in Ohio, playing at Cleveland State on Nov. 15 and at Youngstown State on Nov. 16.
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