FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In the Horizon League women’s volleyball opener, Purdue Fort Wayne fell to the Green Bay Phoenix 3-2 (24-26, 25-17, 25-14, 19-25, 15-10) in the Gates Sports Center on Thursday (Sept. 23).
The Mastodons opened the match with a 26-24 set win thanks to seven kills from Katie Crowe and five from Maggie Castleman. The ‘Dons used a 5-2 closing stretch to come back from down 22-21. Crowe had two kills and Castleman had the set-winning kill.
Green Bay ran away with the second set thanks to a 9-1 run, then did the same in the third with a 15-4 stretch. The Phoenix hit .342 in the second set.
The Mastodons’ offense pulled together in the fourth, bouncing back from their worst hitting percentage of the night to their best. The ‘Dons hit .357 with six kills coming from both Crowe and Castleman. The sophomore outside hitter had no errors with 10 attempts. Behind Castleman’s service, the ‘Dons got an ace, then three straight kills. The first came from Madison Gates, the second two from Crowe. This 5-0 run but the set was out of reach as the Phoenix never tied it after that. Castleman had four of her kills in the last six points of the set.
Both offenses were in peak form in the fifth set, but Green Bay’s was the better of the two, as the Phoenix hit .300. The Mastodons still hit .308 for the frame, as the two teams combined for three hitting errors. After Molly Mirabelli got an ace, the Phoenix finished the match with a 7-4 edge.
Crowe finished with a match-high 19 kills with 10 digs for the 51st double-double of her career. Castleman had 15 kills and eight digs. Rachael Crucis had 14 digs to pace the Mastodons’ defense.
The Mastodons fall to 2-12, 0-1 Horizon League while Green Bay improves to 6-7, 1-0. The Mastodons have a quick turnaround before their next contest, when Milwaukee visits the Arnie Ball Court on Friday, September 24 at 7 p.m. That contest will be on ESPN+.