GAME OF THE WEEK (Oct. 1–7)
Southwestern (17–0–1, 7–0 SWAL) at Cuba City (19–5–3, 7–1), Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7:15 p.m.
The Cubans will look to even the season series and make a claim for a share of this year's SWAL title when Cuba City hosts Southwestern Tuesday at 7:15.
Coach Jane Wills' Wildcats swept the first meeting between the two teams, 25–22, 25–20, 25–23, on Thursday, Sept. 17 ending the Cubans' 43-match SWAL winning streak that dated back to 2011. Senior middle hitter Michelle Budden had 21 kills and five blocks in the win for Southwestern.
“I’m speechless," said Willis after the first meeting. "I knew they had it in them. They just had to go out and prove it to themselves. They did that. We taking it one step at a time. One game, one goal and we’ll build on that. We take care of our business.”
Three weeks ago the Wildcats took care of business by keeping the Cubans on their heels for much of the match by mixing in blistering spikes with well-placed, well-timed tips and aggressive serves. Budden, the reigning SWAL MVP and 2014 all-state selection, is obviously the Wildcats, go-to player, but Southwestern has six other talented players in its rotation.
Senior setter Madison Kuhl distributed 30 assists in the Wildcats' first win over Cuba City, while Senior Melissa Tranel led the team with 24 digs. Senior Miranda Kemp finished with nine kills, and junior Amanda Brand had two of the team’s six aces.
“Southwestern is so comfortable with each other," said Cuba City head coach Keri Lawson following the Sept. 17 loss. "We had our opportunities. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot of times and we’d leave the door open. We just couldn’t finish. They just found ways to win the rallies.”
The Wildcats never allowed the Cubans to score more than three points in a row in any set and the Cubans never led by more than four points at any point in the match. The longest run for the ‘Cats was five points and their largest lead was six points.
If the Cubans hope to avenge their earlier loss, seniors Kaitlyn Kaiser and Jessi Marti will have to be on top of their games. Kaiser slammed 10 kills and added six blocks in the first meeting, while Marti had nine kills and two aces in the match.
Mineral Point (5–1, 3–1) at Cuba City (5–1, 3–1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Friday night forecast: 53 degrees, clear, wind 12 mph NE
The Pointers are on cloud nine this week after scoring 36 unasnwered points in the second half to rally from a 36–14 halftime deficit to stun host Iowa–Grant last Friday night. Senior quarterback Scott Pittz, the reigning SWAL Offensive MVP, rushed for three second-half touchdowns and threw for another to Dane Pfaff to lead the comeback. Running back Lucas Sanchez added for 177 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Pointers. Sophomore Kordell Stillmunkes rushed for 150 yards and three scores as the Cubans trounced Riverdale last week 53–0. Stillmunkes has picked up the slack in recent weeks filling in for senior Mitchell Splinter, who was lost for the season after another concussion cut short his football career.
Both teams have identical 5–1 overall records and are tied for second place in the conference with Iowa–Grant at 3–1. The winner of Friday's game will clinch a playoff berth and remain alive for an outside shot at a share of the conference title, should reigning champion and current SWAL leader Darlington slip up in any of its three remaining league games. The Redbirds defeated Mineral Point, 57–21, in Week 4 on Sept. 18, then a week later beat the Cubans 34–13 in the rain.
"Mineral Point is huge up front and they return the conference MVP at quarterback," said Cuba City coach Guy Kopp. "We will have our work cut out for us. Our dest defense will be our offense. If we can control the ball and play consistent we will be just fine."
OTHER WEEK 7 PREP FOOTBALL MATCHUPS
Dodgeville (0–6, 0–2 SWC) at Lancaster (3–3, 2–0), Friday, 7 p.m., WGLR 97.7 FM
The Arrows made things interesting in the SWC with a 20–19 upset victory at River Valley last Friday. Can John Hoch's Lancaster team keep the momentum going and make a run at a sixth straight conference title?
River Valley (5–1, 1–1) at Platteville (2–4, 1–1), Xtreme 107.1 FM
Can the Hillmen build on last week's 56–13 trouncing of Richland Center or will the Blackhawks shake off last week's loss to Lancaster? The winner of this matchup with have the inside track on a playoff berth, while the loser will have to win its final two games to qualify for the postseason.
Prairie du Chien (4–2, 2–0) at Richland Center (0–6, 0–2), Friday, 7 p.m., WPRE (980 AM, 104.3 FM)
Iowa–Grant (4–2, 3–1) at Fennimore (3–3, 2–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Panthers are still hurting after blowing a 22-point halftime lead in last week's 50–36 loss to Mineral Point, but will look to bounce back against an improving Fennimore team that blew out Southwestern 48–0 last Friday. Fennimore hosts Iowa–Grant Friday at 7 p.m. in the 46th annual battle for the Milk Can.
Darlington (6–0, 4–0 SWAL) at Southwestern (1–5, 1–3), Friday, 7 p.m.
Riverdale (1–5, 0–4) at Boscobel (2–3, 0–3 SWAL), Friday, 7 p.m.
Potosi (4–2, 4–2 Six Rivers) at Belmont (2–4, 2–3), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Chieftains can clinch a playoff berth with a win Friday over the Braves. The Braves are still adjusting to life without their senior quarterback Jon Bahr, who suffered a season-ending hip injury three weeks ago at River Ridge.
Highland (2–4, 2–3) at Black Hawk (4–2, 3–2), South Wayne, Friday, 7 p.m., www.south78radio.com
Cassville (4–2, 4–1) at Benton/Scales Mound (3–3, 2–3), Saturday, 2 p.m., WPVL (1590 AM), WEKZ (93.7 FM)
River Ridge (0–6, 0–6) at Pecatonica/Argyle (6–0, 5–0), Argyle, Saturday, 2 p.m., KIYX (106.1 FM)
Brookwood (4–2) at Shullsburg (2–4), Saturday, 2 p.m. (Non-conference), 102.1 FM
Hillsboro (5–1, 2–1 SBC) at Bangor (6–0, 3–0), Friday, 7 p.m.
RIDGE & VALLEY
Ithaca (6–0, 3–0 RVC) at North Crawford (0–6, 0–4), Friday, 7 p.m.
Wauzeka/Seneca (0–6, 0–3) at Wonewoc–Center (1–5, 1–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
De Soto (4–2, 2–1) at Kickapoo/La Farge (2–4, 2–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Argyle (5–2 in Six Rivers East) at Black Hawk (6–2 SRE), Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7:15 p.m.
The two teams are tied for the top spot in the Six Rivers East. Argyle defeated Black Hawk 3–1 on Sept. 10. Since then the Warriors have won four straight league matches to catch up to the Orioles.
Prep Cross Country:
Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational, Saturday, Oct. 3, 8:30 a.m. at UW–Platteville's Veterans Park
Twenty-six teams will take part in Saturday's 48th annual Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational. The race returns to UW–Platteville's Veterans Park after being run at the Platteville Golf and Country Club a year ago due to tornado damage on the UWP campus. Several state-ranked teams and returning state qualifiers will take part in the event.
Defending boys' champion Dakota Kauffman of Boscobel, as well as River Valley junior Dustin Hatfield, Platteville senior Vince Momot and Darlington senior Jaden Komprood are the favorites in the boys' field. Hatfield finished third a year ago at Platteville, Momot was fifth and Komprood sixth.
Lodi junior McKenzie Kruchten and Belleville junior Noelle Marie are the top returning female runners. they finished third and fourth a year ago. A junior high race will begin the day at 8:30 a.m., followed by the varsity girls race at 9 a.m. and the varsity boys race at 9:40 a.m.