WHITEWATER — The value of a team over an individual revealed itself in the final point of the WIAA Division 2 Whitewater Sectional final Saturday night.
Up two sets to one and 24–15 in set four, Platteville senior Ashley Budden served. Lakeside Lutheran set up the Warriors’ 6–2 senior hitter, Sam Anthon, who will be playing volleyball at UW–Green Bay next year.
Anthon hit a thunderous spike. The ball flew past the Hillmen’s players and bench and landed on the floor … behind the end line.
And with that, Platteville clinched its first WIAA Volleyball Championships berth since 1994, completing their 25–20, 25–22, 20–25, 25–15 sectional final win.
Platteville (40–5) will play Waukesha Catholic Memorial (38–11) in the WIAA Division 2 semifinal at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon Friday at 4 p.m. The winner will play Tomahawk (33–3) or Waupun (37–11) — which Platteville beat for the 1994 Division 2 title — Saturday at 2 p.m.
“I could not be more proud of the team and their determination and perseverance of reaching the team’s #1 goal this year,” said Platteville head coach Yvette Updike. “We are going in to this match focusing on our game plan as we face another private school in the postseason play. We need to do what we do best on Friday.”
“It’s amazing,” said Budden afterward. “I couldn’t imagine anything that I’d want more from this season. It’s everything that we’ve worked my whole entire volleyball career, and now it’s coming true before I leave.”
“As a sophomore, I went to watch state with some of the seniors at the time, and I was just, wow, I really want to play in this,” said senior Briette Updike. “And to be able to play and have my last game on the [Resch Center] court is the most rewarding thing ever.”
Saturday’s sectional final featured the 10th-ranked team in Division 2, Platteville, against Lakeside Lutheran (31–7) and its UWGB recruit, Anthon.
Did that fire up the less heralded Stecklein?
“It probably did,” she said. “I always want to strive, I always want to kill it. You want to top the other person’s kill, and it’s just fun to be aggressive like that.”
Apparently it did, because Stecklein had 22 kills, more than double Anthon’s total.
“We were able to put up a solid block against their outside attack along with good secondary defense of digging up balls,” said coach Updike of Platteville’s defense of Anthon. “She had some great attacks at time but I believe for the most part we took her out of her game. We kept the ball away from her on serve receive.”
The first three sets played out in similar fashion — the team that got a lead early lost.
Lakeside Lutheran got out to a 10–4 lead in set one, and their lead alternated between three and four points until Budden served up the tying point, 15–15, and Stecklein served up two points to give Platteville an 18–16 lead. Maddie Carroll’s kill gave Platteville the lead for good, 19–18, and Emendorfer served up three straight points to extend the lead to 22–18. Updike served up the final two points after the Warriors had cut the lead to 22–20.
Set two was played the same way as set one. Lakeside Lutheran led 8–4 , but Phillips served up the tying point, 13–13, and Stecklein served up Platteville’s first lead, 17–16. Emendorfer’s ace extended the lead to 19–17, but Kendal Denson’s serve tied the set 19–19. Platteville took a 22–21 lead, Tashner extended it to 23–21, and Stecklein’s kill made it 24–22.
“They got more tired as the match went on, it was noticeable that [Anthon] wasn’t getting up, and our block was there,” said Budden.
Set three was the opposite of the first two sets, in that Platteville got a lead, 10–5, but Lakeside Lutheran crept back into the match and took the lead, 16–15, on the way to winning the third set, 25–20.
“That was kind of in the back of my mind in the third game,” said Updike about getting and losing a lead. “But going into that fourth game we had that lead again.”
“We just came out swinging like we always do” in set four, said Budden.
Alison Woodworth started set four with a kill, and then Tashner served up six straight points, with three Stecklein kills, to give Platteville a 7–0 lead. Budden’s two service points extended the lead to 13–5, and then kills by Tashner and Faye Bailie extended the lead to 18–8 on the way to the fifth state tournament berth in Platteville history (1977, 1978, 1979, 1994, 2014). The Hillmen won Class B state titles in 1977 and 1979 under Kathy Herbst.
Platteville, which finished the regular season ranked 10th in the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association Division 2 poll, will play number-one-ranked Waukesha Catholic Memorial Friday at 4 p.m. The Crusaders (38–11) defeated second-ranked East Troy, the defending Division 2 champion, on Thursday and sixth-ranked Kettle Moraine Lutheran 25–23, 25–23, 25–23 to win the East Troy Regional Saturday. The other semifinal will feature third-ranked Tomahawk against fifth-ranked Waupun.
Platteville’s state appearance will be the second part of Friday’s Southwest Wisconsin doubleheader. Part one will feature Southwestern, which defeated Cuba City and Royall to win the Division 4 Onalaska Luther Sectional, against Hilbert Friday at 10 a.m. The winner will play Clayton or Wausau Newman Saturday at 9 a.m.
WIAA Division 2 Sectional Final
Platteville 3, Lakeside Lutheran 1
(from Saturday, Nov. 1 @ Whitewater)
Lakeside Lutheran 20 22 25 15
Platteville 25 25 20 25
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Morgan Stecklein 22, Claire Tashner 15, Maddie Carroll 8, Allison Woodworth 5. Blocks: Woodworth 4, Stecklein 1, Faye Bailie 1, Carroll 1. Assists: Jenna Philips 27, Rachel Emendorfer 24. Aces: Ashley Budden 2, Stecklein 2. Digs: Briette Updike 22, Tashner 13, Stecklein 13.
... after sweeping Wisconsin Dells in sectional semifinal
PRAIRIE DU SAC — Before Platteville could play in Saturday’s sectional final with a state berth on the line, the Hillmen first had to take care of business in Thursday night’s sectional semifinal at Sauk Prairie High School.
Platteville made quick work of Wisconsin Dells, sweeping the Chiefs 25–16, 25–22, 25–12 in a match that took just 65 minutes to complete — less time than in took Platteville supporters to make the 67-mile trek to Sauk Prairie High School.
This was Platteville’s first sectional victory under head coach Yvette Updike after falling in the sectional semifinals in both 2011 to SWC rival Richland Center and a year ago to Madison Edgewood.
“We knew who their main attackers were and we had to focus on setting up a solid block and being able to hit around their [block],” said Updike. “We played well and it was a good win.”
The match was not even as close as the lop-sided score might indicate.
Platteville jumped out to an early 9–3 lead scoring seven straight on the serve of junior Morgan Stecklein’s and never trailed in the opening set. Senior Briette Updike served up three more to extend the lead to 14–6, and junior Claire Tashner served up two more to extend the lead to 17–7. The Chiefs never got closer than seven points the rest of set one.
Wisconsin Dells (26–13) pushed the Hillmen in the second set, but Platteville led from 5–4, though never had a larger lead than six points.
Every time Wisconsin Dells crept to within a few points, Platteville forced a side out and got the serve back.
The Chiefs pulled within two points on four occasions late in the second set, but Tashner, Stecklein and senior Ashley Budden came throw with kills to score Platteville’s final three points of the set.
Set three was never in doubt either. Junior Jenna Phillips served up the first three points, and Rachel Emendorfer served up five straight points to extend the lead to 14–5. After a Budden kill gave Platteville a 10-point lead at 17–7, junior Allison Woodworth made three straight blocks to extend the lead to 21–7.
Junior Maddie Carroll’s tip kill made it 24–11 and a Dells’ hitting error ended the match.
Tashner finished the match with 12 kills and six digs. Stecklein added 11 kills. Phillips had 16 assists, while fellow junior Rachel Emendorfer passed out 15 assists. Updike finished with 14 digs and two aces.
WIAA Division 2 Sectional Semifinal
Platteville 3, Wisconsin Dells 0
(from Thursday, Oct. 30 @ Prairie du Sac)
Wisconsin Dells 16 22 12
Platteville 25 25 25
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Claire Tashner 12, Morgan Stecklein 11, Maddie Carroll 5, Faye Bailie 4. Blocks: Allison Woodworth 4, Faye Bailie 2, Ashley Budden 2. Assists: Jenna Phillips 16, Rachel Emendorfer 15. Aces: Briette Updike 2. Digs: Updike 14, Tashner 6.