GREEN BAY — Platteville seniors Briette Updike and Ashley Budden were right where they wanted to be to finish their highly successful prep volleyball careers.
Unfortunately for the Updike, Budden and the rest of their Hillmen teammates the final chapter at the state tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay didn’t play out quite like they had dreamt.
Platteville was swept in straight sets by top-ranked Waukesha Catholic Memorial, 25–19, 25–23, 25–19, in a WIAA Division 2 state semifinal Friday afternoon.
The bigger, more athletic Crusaders (40–11) went on to win the D2 state title Saturday with little challenge from third-ranked Tomahawk (34–3), 25–11, 25–20, 25–20.
The 10th ranked Hillmen (40–6) hung with Catholic Memorial in every set of Friday’s semifinals, but at the end of each set the Crusaders found a way to pull out the victory.
“The hit everything down,” said Updike, a four-year varsity starter at libero. “They were really consistent. They controlled the ball on their side of the net very, very well and we didn’t quite do that at times. We were kind of a roller coaster. We couldn’t get that flow going because they kept getting blocks and everything. That’s nothing against our team it was just something we weren’t used to.”
The Crusaders held early leads of 7–4 and 15–12, but both times Platteville battled back to tie it, and at one point even held an 8–7 lead on a kill by junior Claire Tashner.
But Memorial took control of the set with a 6–0 run on the serve of sophomore Maddy Rondeau to take a 21–15 lead.
Platteville got as close as 21–18, but back-to-back kills and an ace by Kathryn Christian made it 24–18 and on set point the Hillmen served the ball into the net.
Platteville jumped out to a 5–1 lead in the second set, but Memorial quickly closed the gap overtaking the Hillmen for good at 13–12. Again with Rondeau at the service line the Crusaders scored six straight points to go up 18–12.
Platteville fought off four straight set-points on Ashley Budden’s serve thanks to three kills from junior Morgan Stecklein, but another serving error on set-point number five gave Memorial the two-point win, 25–23.
The Hillmen battled back and forth to build a 13–12 lead in the third set, but again Memorial turned it up a notch and closed the set on a 11–5 run to close out the match.
“They had a really big block and it was hard for us to get around and when we did they were pretty quick on defense,” said Budden. “They were a really good team all around.”
“We definitely needed to serve receive better so we could run our offense,” said Platteville head coach Yvette Updike. “That was our biggest struggle that we couldn’t pass the ball very well and that was the biggest difference in the match. Catholic Memorial had a lot of weapons and we had to keep guessing where the hit was coming from They moved the ball well. I don’t think the height was a big disadvantage for, I think it was their quickness.
“They took us out of our rhythm and had us on defense more than offense.”
Stecklein finished with a team-high 13 kills to lead Platteville’s offense. Tashner finished with seven kills and junior Maddie Carroll had five kills. Junior setter Jenna Phillips posted a double–double of 17 assists and 13 digs. Rachel Emendorfer added nine assists and nine digs.
Updike, who will play college volleyball at Clarke University in Dubuque next fall finished her final match with 17 digs.
“It was really rewarding to finish my career at state especially with my mom here and my sister (Brelynn),” said Briette Updike. “It means a lot to me because it was one of my goals since freshman year; I was like hey I really wanted to play at the Resch Center in Green Bay. It’s so rewarding that it finally came true after all the hard work, open gyms, weight lifting and conditioning.”
“This season was great,” added Budden. “We had a blast. We had fun with win, every game we played and pushed ourselves every single time we played.”
“The kids worked hard all year long and I’m very proud off them,” added coach Updike. “This was a great bunch of kids. They set a goal last year when they lost against Madison Edgewood [at sectionals] last year. They said this was their goal and they worked hard in the offseason and throughout the season to get up here to state.
“We’re fairly young, we have a strong junior base so we have a bright future. Our two seniors were great leaders that had been with me for four year. They new what we were running and what I expected out of them and the team. They will be hard to replace.”
WIAA Division 2 State Semifinal
Waukesha Catholic Memorial 3, Platteville 0
(from Friday, Nov. 7 @ Green Bay)
Waukesha Cath. Memorial 25 25 25
Platteville 19 23 19
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Morgan Stecklein 13, Claire Tashner 7, Maddie Carroll 5, Allison Woodworth 2, Faye Bailie 2, Ashley Budden 2. Blocks: Woodworth 4, Bailie 2, Stecklein 2, Tashner 2, Budden 1, Carroll 1. Assists: Jenna Philips 18, Rachel Emendorfer 9, Carroll 1. Aces: Phillips 1, Budden 1. Digs: Briette Updike 17, Phillips 13, Emendorfer 9, Tashner 6, Budden 6, Stecklein 3, Woodworth 1, Carroll 1.