GAME OF THE WEEK (Sept. 8–14)
PREP VOLLEYBALL: River Valley (7–6, 1–0 SWC) at Platteville (5–10, 1–0 SWC), Tuesday, Sept. 13, 7:15 p.m.
The early-season overall records of the Platteville and River Valley volleyball teams may not be impressive, but make no mistake the two programs are still this year’s favorites to win the Southwest Wisconsin Conference title, though Richland Center hopes to have a say in that as well. The Hillmen host the Blackhawks Tuesday night in this week’s McDonald’s swnews4u.com Game of the Week.
Coach Lindsay Nihles replaced nine starters from last year’s conference champion and sectional final team that finished 34–5 and one win shy of the WIAA state tournament. The Hillmen opened this year 1–4 at Watertown, then went 3–6 two weekends ago at the UW–Whitewater Warhawk Open. But the Hillmen are finding their way behind the play of junior middle hitter Skye Digman and freshman outside hitter/setter Izzy Carroll. Platteville opened conference play with a dominating sweep of Lancaster last Thursday night.
Coach Lisa Roelke’s has had to find replacements for all-conference hitters Kylie Hofffman and Alyssa Mueller from last year’s team that went 37–6 and finished the season with a regional final loss to Nihles’ Hillmen. The Blackhawks have returned first-team All-SWC setter Taylor Briehl (46 kills, 226 assists, 24 aces this year) and senior outside hitter Carly Fleming (70 kills, 45 digs). Valley opened conference play with a sweep over Dodgeville last Thursday before going 3–2 at the Mukwonago Invitational last Saturday.
The Blackhawks have a key SWC match against Richland Center tonight. River Valley’s matches against RC and Platteville could show this year’s conference front-runner.
PREP FOOTBALL: This week’s area games
(Friday, Sept. 9, all games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Platteville (2–1) at Onalaska Luther (2–1)
The Hillmen look to go 3–1 in the non-conference season tonight at Onalaska Luther. Senior Luke Fugate rushed for 226 yards and three TDs in last week's 36–35 win over Westby. Platteville survived a late two-point conversion attempt with 1:28 left in the game to escape with the win.
Dodgeville (2–1) at Black River Falls (1–2)
Arcadia (1–2) at Prairie du Chien (2–1)
Gale–Etrrick–Trempeleau (2–1) at River Valley (2–0)
River Ridge (3–1) at Clear Lake (2–2)
Fennimore (2–1, 1–0 SWAL) at Cuba City (1–2, 1–0 SWAL)
Fennimore's playoff hopes could get a big lift with a victory at Cuba City this week. Senior Jordan Williams completed 11 of 20 passes for 235 yards and three TDS in a 21–20 victory over Mineral Point last week. Cuba City junior Kordell Stillmunkes rushed for 268 yards and four TDs and pased for 51 more yards last Friday in first start at quarterback to lead the Cubans to a 51–7 rout of Southwestern.
Darlington (3–0, 0–0 SWAL, ranked #2 in D6) at Mineral Point (2–1, 0–1 SWAL)
UW recruit Hunter Johnson has rushed for 655 yards and state-best 14 touchdowns in three Darlington blowout wins this year. Friday's SWAL game at Mineral Point could get out of hand early.
Southwestern (1–2, 0–1 SWAL) at Boscobel (0–3, 0–1 SWAL)
Potosi (1–3, 1–2 SRC) at Shullsburg (4–0, 3–0 SRC, ranked 8th in D7)
The Miners could be for real. We will find out tonight. Shullsburg can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the suddenly struggling Chieftains. Potosi, which on five straight Six Rivers titles from 2010–2014, is now 1–3 on the season. It's only win was a forfeit victory over Cassville. Meanwhile, Shullsburg has rattled off wins over Hillsboro (56–0), Black Hawk (24–0) and Benton/Scales Mound (46–7) and picked up a forfeit from Cassville.
Pecatonica/Argyle (3–0, 2–0 SRC) at Belmont (0–3, 0–3 SRC)
Black Hawk (1–2, 1–2 SRC) at Benton/Scales Mound (0–3, 0–2 SRC)
(Saturday, Sept. 10)
Viroqua (1–2) at Richland Center (0–3), Saturday, Sept. 10, noon
Lancaster (3–0, ranked 5th in D5) at Westby (0–3), Saturday, 1 p.m.
After a down year in 2015, the Arrows are back on track. Lancaster looks to start 4–0 with a non-conference day game at Westby.
Iowa–Grant (2–1) vs. Lake Ludden-Hubbell (Mich.) at Tomahawk, 1 p.m.
PREP VOLLEYBALL: This week’s area games
Richland Center (8–3, 1–0 SWC) at River Valley (7–6, 1–0 SWC), Thursday, Sept. 8
The biggest match in the area is Richland Center at River Valley tonight in Spring Green. The preseason favorite Blackhawks host the Hornets, who hop to contend for a SWC title after a third-place finish a year ago.
Platteville (5–10, 1–0 SWC) at Prairie du Chien (3–13, 0–1 SWC), Thursday, Sept. 8
The defending SWC champion Hillmen opened conference play with a sweep of Lancaster last Thursday. Tonight they travel to Prairie du Chien to take on the struggling Blackhawks.
Lancaster (2–4, 0–1 SWC at Dodgeville (3–3, 0–1 SWC), Thursday, Sept. 8
Prairie du Chien at Lancaster, Tuesday, Tuesday, Sept. 13
Dodgeville at Richland Center, Tuesday, Sept. 13
Mineral Point (12–2, 3–0 SWAL) at Cuba City (5–6–1, 1–0 SWAL), Thursday, Sept. 8
Fennimore (4–9, 0–3 SWAL) at Iowa–Grant (4–3, 1–1 SWAL), Thursday, Sept. 8
Boscobel (4–3, 1–1 SWAL) at Southwestern (5–0, 1–0 SWAL), Thursday, Sept. 8
Darlington (3–1–2, 0–1 SWAL) at Fennimore, Tuesday, Sept. 13
Mineral Point at Riverdale (0–3, 0–1 SWAL), Tuesday, Sept. 13
Cuba City at Southwestern, Tuesday, Sept. 13
Six Rivers West
Belmont (4–6–1, 1–2 SRW) at Cassville (2–4–1, 0–3 SRW), Thursday, Sept. 8
River Ridge (5–1–1, 2–0 SRW) at Highland (3–4, 1–1 SRW), Thursday, Sept. 8
Belmont at Shullsburg (2–4–1, 1–2 SRW), Monday, Sept. 12
Benton (6–1–1, 3–0 SRW) at Belmont, Tuesday, Sept. 13
Potosi (2–3–1, 1–1 SRW) at Highland), Tuesday, Sept. 13
Shullsburg at River Ridge, Tuesday, Sept. 13
CROSS COUNTRY: River Valley Invitational, Saturday, Sept. 10, 8:30 a.m.
River Valley will host 45 teams at Saturday’s meet, including area teams Boscobel, Cassville, Darlington, Dodgeville, Fennimore, Hillsboro, Iowa–Grant, Lancaster, Platteville, Prairie du Chien and Riverdale. The meet will be held at Spring Green Municipal Golf Course, beginning at 8:30 a.m.