GAME OF THE WEEK: (Sept. 10–Sept. 16)
Prep volleyball: River Valley (9–1, 2–0 SWC) at Platteville (12–4, 2–0), Tuesday, Sept. 15, 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday's Southwest Wisconsin Conference clash of titans will likely be the first of three meetings between the Hillmen and Blackhawks this year and the victor will have a leg up in the race for this year's conference title.
A year ago, the two teams met four times, splitting their two regular season matchups to share the SWC crown, with River Valley winning in four games at Spring Green on Sept. 16, and the Hillmen winning in five games at PHS on Oct. 9. The Blackhawks also won a non-conference meeting 2–1 in the championship game of the Middleton Invitational on Sept. 20, but the Hillmen won the most important head-to-head meeting of the 2014 season, defeating Valley on its own court Saturday, Oct. 25 to win the WIAA Division 2 regional title. Platteville went on to win the sectional crown and advance to the D2 state tournament for the first time since 1994.
The two teams are the only real contenders to win this year's SWC title and will most likely square off in another regional final in October. River Valley and Platteville are in the same seven-team regional pod, with Dodgeville, Lodi, Mount Horeb, Sauk Prairie and Richland Center. Regional play begins Tuesday, Oct. 20, with the regional final scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24.
For now, both teams are off to great start. Platteville is 13–4 overall and 3–0 in the SWC after sweeping Prairie du Chien, Dodgeville and Lancaster to begin conference play. The Hillmen went 8–1 and finished second at the two-day UW–Whitewater Warhawk Open on the last weekend of August after a 2–0 loss to Division 1 Merrill in the title match.
River Valley (10–1) opened the season with a third-place finish at the UW–Stout Sprawl Tournament. The Blackhawks went 7–1 at the tournament only losing to Altoona in the quarterfinal round of the championship gold bracket. Valley is now 3–0 IN SWC play with dominating wins over Richland Center, Prairie du Chien and Dodgeville.
The Hillmen have altered their offensive attack slightly from a year ago under first-year head coach Lindsay Neal, but still feature a 6–2 rotation led by four-year varsity setters Rachel Emendorfer and Jenna Phillips. Third-team all-state outside hitter Morgan Stecklein is still Platteville's top hitter, but senior middle hitters Faye Bailie and Allison Woodworth are seeing increased hitting opportunities early in the season. Senior honorable mention all-state selection Claire Tashner has moved to the right side to take full advantage of her all-around abilities.
Coach Lisa Roelke's Blackhawks are led by seniors Kylie Hoffman (108 kills, 66 digs, 15 blocks) and Alyssa Mueller (105 kills, 51 digs, 16 blocks) and junior setter Taylor Briehl (216 assists, 23 aces).
Mineral Point (3–0, 1–0 SWAL) at Darlington (3–0, 1–0 SWAL), Friday, 7 p.m., WEKZ (93.7)
The Redbirds return home to host the Pionters in a keep SWAL contest of unbeatens. Darlington is coming off a 48–8 pounding of Riverdale to open the league season. Senior Hunter Johnson rushed for 171 yards and three TDs on just six carries. Conrad Blosch added 114 yards and a score on 13 runs. Coach Andy Palzkill's Pointers have high hopes this fall and will go as far as senior quarterback Scott Pittz will take them. Pittz completed passed for 93 yards and two TDs, and ran for three scores as Point hammered Fennimore last Friday night 57–24.
OTHER WEEK 3 PREP FOOTBALL MATCHUPS
Benton/Scales Mound (3–0, 1–0 SRC) at Black Hawk (2–1, 2–1 SRC), at South Wayne, Friday, 7 p.m., South 78 Radio
Belmont (2–1, 2–1 SRC) at Pecatonica/Argyle (3–0, 2–0), at Blanchardville, Friday, 7 p.m.
Shullsburg (0–3, 0–3 SRC) at Potosi (1–2, 1–2 SRC), Friday, 7 p.m.
River Ridge (0–3, 0–3 SRC) at Cassville (2–1, 2–0 SRC), Friday 7 p.m.
Highland (1–2) at Bangor (3–0), Saturday, 1 p.m. (Non-conference)
Cuba City (3–0, 1–0 SWAL) at Fennimore (1–2, 1–0 SWAL), Friday, 7 p.m., WQPC (94.3 FM)
Riverdale (1–2, 0–1 SWAL) at Iowa–Grant (2–1, 1–0 SWAL), 7 p.m.
Boscobel (2–1, 0–1 SWAL) at Southwestern (0–3, 0–1 SWAL), 7 p.m.
SWC (Non-conference games)
Lancaster (1–2) at Gale–Ettrick Trempeleau (2–1), Friday, 7 p.m., WGLR 97.7 FM
Black River Falls (3–0) at Platteville (1–2), Friday, 7 p.m., Xtreme 107.1 FM
Onalaska Luther (0–3) at Prairie du Chien (1–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Dodgeville (0–3) at Westby (3–0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Viroqua (0–3) at River Valley (3–0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Prep Boys' Soccer:
Dodgeville/Mineral Point (3–0–1 SWC) at Platteville/Lancaster (4–0–1, 4–0–1 SWC), Tuesday, Sept. 15, 5 p.m.
The Dodgers will travel to Platteville to meet the Hillmen for the second time this year. The two preseason SWC favorites played to a draw on Aug. 27 to open the season. The Hillmen will have four matches before Tuesday's showdown with non-conference games at Mount Horeb Thursday, at Port Washington Friday and Saturday and at Sugar River (Belleville) on Monday. The Dodgers travel to Richland Center Thursday and Lodi on Saturday.
Prep Cross Country:
River Valley Cross Country Invitational, Saturday, 8:30 a.m.
The Blackhawks host a 45-team invitational Saturday morning, one of the largest cross country meets in this part of the state. The first race will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Spring Green Municipal Golf Course.
UW–Platteville (1–0), at Dubuque (0–1), 6 p.m., Xtreme 107.1 FM
The Pioneers and Spartans meet in the Dairy Queen Battle for the Bridge rivalry game. The Pioneers have won five straight meetings between the schools dating back to 2009. The two teams did not meet in 2011. UWP opened the season last week with a 49–13 victory over Buena Vista. Junior quarterback Tom Kelly completed 21 of 25 passes for 277 yards and five TDs all in the first half. UD opened the season with a 45–9 loss at St. John's University (Minn.).