PLATTEVILLE — Many predicted a rebuilding year for the Platteville volleyball team this fall.
Coach Lindsay Nihles would prefer to look at this year as a reloading year.
Nihles’ Hillmen, who graduated their entire nine-player rotation from last year’s 34–5 sectional finalist team, opened the season 4–10 at a pair of competitive tournaments at Watertown and Whitewater two weeks ago.
Last week, the improving Hillmen opened Southwest Wisconsin Conference play with a dominating 25–10, 25–10, 25–18 victory over Lancaster.
Nihles insists her club, which has played five freshmen and two sophomores so far this year, has made great strides since the beginning of fall practice on Aug. 15.
“Moving to the ball has greatly improved,” said Nihles. “We used to sit back on our heels and miss opportunities to pick up easy balls. We are being more aggressive to the ball. I also liked that we had consistency on Tuesday night. We sometimes struggle with that.”
The Hillmen took an early lead during Tuesday’s win on the serve of Britney Baker. The junior setter served up eight straight points, including three aces to put Platteville up 13–7.
Junior Skye Digman took over late in the opening set, pounding kills on four of the final seven points, including each of the last three. Digman finished the match with a match-high 11 kills. Baker added 14 assists and three aces.
The Hillmen continued to dominate in the second set, as senior KD Hoyer served a pair of aces to give the home team an 11–1 lead.
Freshman Izzy Carroll had a block and a pair of kills and junior libero Emilie Busch served up an ace as Platteville increased its lead to 19–4. The third set was much of the same as Carroll had back-to-back kills and freshman Sami Martin added a pair of kills as the Hillmen opened a 23–13 lead.
Lancaster didn’t go down without a fight, scoring six of the next seven points pulled the Arrows within 24–19, before a serving error on match point gave Platteville the win.
“Skye Digman stepped up and had some smart hits,” said Nihles. “Izzy and Britney’s sets were looking more consistent. Sami Martin our freshman made some smart plays out of the middle. Emilie Busch was aggressive on the back row. Kaycie Wagner had a few big blocks.
Carroll finished with seven kills and eight assists. Busch made a team-high 12 digs and Wagner chipped in three kills and team-high four blocks.”
“We still need to work on serving aggressive but smart,” added Nihles. “We tend to rush our serves and make too many serving errors. We also need to focus on being aggressive at the net on over passes and all hitters being aggressive to sets. Defensively we always need to keep striving to improve, sometimes we are caught out of position.”
The Hillmen (5–10, 1–0 SWC) will return to action Thursday at Prairie du Chien.
Platteville 3, Lancaster 0
(from Thursday, Sept. 1 @ Platteville)
Lancaster 10 10 19
Platteville 25 25 25
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Skye Digman 11, Izzy Carroll 7, Sami Martin 4. Blocks: Kaycie Wagner 4. Assists: Britney Baker 14, Carroll 8. Aces: Baker 3, KD Hoyer 2. Digs: Emilie Busch 12.