PLATTEVILLE — It’s a new season for UW–Platteville’s volleyball team and with that new season comes a familiar sense of energy.
Last year, the Pioneers finished 1–6 in the WIAC, with an overall record of 11–21. Despite finishing last in the conference, with the help of their positive attitudes, the Pioneers upset tri-champion UW–Whitewater in a five-set thriller in the final home match of the season.
“We definitely ended last season on a high note,” said Pioneer head coach Samantha Birkicht. “I’m hoping the team can bring back the same attitude and energy that they finished the season with.”
Birkicht, formerly the Pioneers’ assistant coach, was announced head coach earlier this year. During her time as assistant coach at UW–Platteville, Birkicht helped lead the team to three seasons with records at or above .500, including back to back 21-win seasons in 2011 and 2012.
“I’d love to finish this season within the top four in conference,” said Birkicht. “I really think that we have the talent and leadership to do that.”
This past year, the Pioneers lost three senior starters to graduation. However, returning for the Pioneers include outside hitter Allison Jensen, middle hitter Ashlee Moore, starting setter Allie Carter, and a large senior class.
“I was a part of recruiting the incoming seniors as well as coaching them their freshman year,” said Birkicht. “It’s exciting to see how far they’ve come. They’re a great class, and I think they have what it takes to lay the foundation we need.”
Five new players will be joining the Pioneers this year including Katie Jones, who previously played for the University of Northern Iowa, and Kielyn Kapugi from Sun Prairie.
“The entire team has the right attitude to progress down this journey,” added Birkicht. “They know how to challenge themselves and they want to reach new heights.”
The Pioneers will report to campus on Friday and play their first match against Westminster College just two weeks later.