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Hillmen exact revenge, take regional volleyball crown
pla vb team
Members of the Platteville volleyball team pose with their WIAA Division 2 regional championship plaque after defeating River Valley 32 Saturday night.

     SPRING GREEN —Nine days earlier River Valley came to town and ended Platteville’s dream of winning a conference championship.
     Nine days later Platteville returned the favor, ending the Blackhawks season on their own court, while claiming a WIAA Division 3 regional title in dramatic fashion Saturday night.
     Platteville dropped the first two sets, but behind a match-high 19 kills from sophomore Morgan Stecklein rallied to score a dramatic 21–25, 22–25, 25–16, 26–24, 15–12 upset of second-seeded River Valley.
     “We played conservative the first two sets and I told the kids that we could not keep playing conservative if we expected to win,” said Platteville head coach Yvette Updike. “We had to ‘play to win’ and stop ‘playing not to lose.’  We were hitting into their blocks instead of jumping into our attack and using their block to our advantage.”
     In the third set, after Updike’s speech, Platteville went on the offensive with Stecklein and fellow sophomores Claire Tashner (10 kills) and Maddie Carroll (8 kills) pounding spike after spike in a lopsided 25–16 win that kept the Hillmen alive.
     “After winning that third set, the team was fired up and they truly believed,” said Updike. “They were not going to walk away at the end of the night with any regrets and they put everything out on that court.”
Platteville pulled off a two-point win in the fourth set to force a decisive, winner-take-all fifth set.
     “At the end of the fourth set, they were so focused and determined!,” said Updike. “They knew they were getting into River Valley’s head.”
     The key play in the match came late in the fifth set with Platteville clinging to a 13–12 lead.
Junior libero Briette Updike dug up an aggressive hit from River Valley’s Alyssa Mueller (17 kills) and the ball landed on the top of the net and fell on the Blackhawks’ side for a Platteville sideout.
     On match point, Updike served up her third ace of the night for the 15–12 winning setting off an emotional Platteville celebration.
     “It was exciting to win the regional championship on their floor,” added coach Updike. “They took the conference title a week earlier from us on our floor so it was a nice exchange.”
     Platteville (31–8–1) advances to face top-seeded Madison Edgewood (34–3) in Thursday night’s D2 sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. at Verona High School.
     Platteville was swept by the Crusaders 25–10, 25–19 on Oct. 5 at the Edgewood Invitational.
     “We played Edgewood earlier in the season so we do know what to expect,” added Updike.
Platteville swept Mauston last Tuesday to open the playoffs, then swept Reedsburg in the regional semifinals on Thursday night.

WIAA Division 2 Regional Quarterfinals
Platteville 3, Mauston 0
(from Tuesday, Oct. 22 @ Platteville)
Mauston              15    16    20
Platteville            25    25    25
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Morgan Stecklein 10, Claire Tashner 7, Maddie Carroll 7. Blocks: Ashley Budden 2, Stecklein 2. Assists: Jenna Phillips 18, Rachel Emendorfer 13. Aces: Phillips 3, Stecklein 2, Budden 2. Digs: Briette Updike 4, Phillips 3.

WIAA Division 2 Regional Semifinals
Platteville 3, Reedsburg 0
(from Thursday, Oct. 24 @ Platteville)
Reedsburg            20    22    21
Platteville             25    25    25
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Maddie Carroll 11, Ashley Budden 10, Morgan Stecklein 9. Blocks: Budden 3, Allison Woodworth 3, Stecklein 2, Marissa Marino 2. Assists: Jenna Phillips 25, Rachel Emendorfer 14. Aces: Briette Updike 3, Stecklein 2. Digs: Briette Updike 16, Stecklein 8, Budden 8.

WIAA Division 2 Regional Finals
Platteville 3, River Valley 2
(from Saturday, Oct. 26 @ River Valley)
Platteville        21    22    25    26    15
River Valley    25    25    16    24    12
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Morgan Stecklein 19, Claire Tashner 10, Maddie Carroll 8. Blocks: Stecklein 4, Ashley Budden 2, Allison Woodworth 2. Assists: Jenna Phillips 14, Rachel Emendorfer 14. Aces: Briette Updike 3, Emendorfer 3. Digs: Briette Updike 13, Emendorfer 7.