EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a new web-only feature that will publish each Friday throughout the calendar year.
Big time players step up when it matters most. Tuesday night Platteville senior outside hitter Morgan Stecklein played perhaps her most dominant all-around match of the season to lead the fourth-ranked Hillmen to a 25–15, 25–20, 22–25, 25–18 victory over bitter Southwest Wisconsin Conference rival River Valley. For her performance, Stecklein has been named this week's Mast Water Technology Athlete of the Week.
Stecklein posted a match-high 17 kills, 10 aces and nine digs while having a hand in Platteville's win all over the court. She served up six ace in the opening set alone and had a key 10-point run at the service line as the Hillmen raced out to a 1–0 lead. Stecklein them slammed eight of her 17 kills in the second set as Platteville prevailed once again. After the Blackhawks rallied behind then own sensational senior Alyssa Mueller to steal the third set, Stecklein again powered Platteville to victory in the fourth set with five kills and three aces.
The 6-foot senior also had four kills, six aces and five digs in an easy sweep of Lancaster last Thursday and 10 kills and eight digs in a 3–0 win over Dodgeville on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Earlier this year, Stecklein led the Hillmen to a second-place finish at the 20-team UW–Whitewater Warhawk Open. Stecklein currently leads the SWC-leading Hillmen (14–4, 4–0 SWC) with 162 kills and 48 aces in 14 matches. She also has 15 blocks and is among the team leader in digs.
Stecklein is a four-year varsity player for the Hillmen, a two-time first-team All-SWC selection and the league's reigning Player of the Year. She also received third-team all-state honors from the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association a year ago when she led Platteville to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament for the first time since Platteville won the 1994 state title.
Trevor Johnson, Jr., Darlington, Running Back
Johnson rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns and also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass to lead the undefeated Redbirds (4–0, 2–0 SWAL) to a 57–21 victory over visiting Mineral Point last Friday.
Lydia Murphy, Fr., Lancaster, cross country
For the second straight week Murphy turned in an impressive performance. The varsity rookie finished second in the girls' small schools division at last Saturday's River Valley Blackhawk Invitational with a time of 19:54, while leading the Lady Arrows to a second-place team in the 20-team division.
Dakota Kaufman, Sr., Boscobel, cross country
Kaufman won the boys' small schools division at Saturday's River Valley Invitational with a time of 16:27 and led his Bulldogs to a second-place team finish behind only Darlington.
Jenna Phillips, Sr., Platteville, Setter
The four-year varsity player was nearly unstoppable from the service line helping the Hillmen to three straight weeks in the past week. Phillips posted 25 assists and four aces in a key SWC victory over River Valley this past Tuesday. She finished with 14 assists and served up a match-high nine aces in a sweep of Lancaster last Thursday and had 15 assists and eight aces in a 3–0 victory over Dodgeville on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Phillips was a second-team All-SWC selection last fall.
Dan Iselin, Jr., Platteville, cross country
Iselin finished fourth out of 135 runners with a time of 16:47.1 at last Saturday's 44th Annual Luther College All-American Invitational. Iselin and fellow senior Vince Momot (third place) led the Platteville boys to a third-place team finish at the 20-team event, that had teams from three states (Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota).
Joey Clary, Sr., Ithaca, Quarterback
The senior signal caller completed 4 of 6 passes for 151 yards and four touchdowns to lead the undefeated Bulldogs (4–0) to a dominating 55–12 victory over Seneca/Wauzeka–Steuben last Friday night.