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Hillmen soccer team opens SWC play 20
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     Injuries and inconsistency plagued the Platteville/Lancaster boys’ soccer team a year ago.
     Through it all, the young the Hillmen hung on, picked up a pair of foreign exchange students in the middle of the season and won six of their final seven SWC matches to earn a share of last year’s conference title.
     Platteville/Lancaster finished 9–11–2 overall a year ago and 9–3 in the SWC to share the league title with Dodgeville/Mineral Point.
     The Hillmen lost seven players from last year’s conference championship team, but return six starters, including first-team All-SWC performers Nate Roling (Sr., D), Ryan Pink (Sr., MF) and Ying Xiong (So., F), second-team All-SWC choice Everett Ellingson (Sr., MF), senior forward Clay Vesperman and senior goalie Devon Briggs, who went 3–4–2 a year ago splitting time in the net.
     Senior forward Julian LaBudda also returns to the team after a year-long study abroad trip to Denmark.
     LaBudda’s made his return to the line-up in grand fashion last Tuesday when he scored a pair of goals in Platteville/Lancaster’s 5–1 season-opening victory over visiting Dodgeville/Mineral Point.
     Dodgeville took an early 1–0 when Jack Schickel lobbed a free kick from 25 yards out.
     “That woke us up and we responded well by taking control of the midfield with good passing and movement,” said third-year Hillmen coach Brandon Pink. 
     LaBudda scored the co-op’s first goal of the season in the 33rd minute with an assist from Nate Roling. Then Roling gave Platteville/Lancaster a 2–1 halftime advantage when he scored on an assist by Ryan Pink.
LaBudda scored again early in the second half — on another Pink assist — and Vesperman (with an assist from Jon Murphy) and Xiong closed out the scoring.
     Briggs made three saves to earn the win.
     “Our fitness, skill, and roster depth really began to show as we wore Dodgeville down and secured the game by scoring three goals in the second half,” said coach Pink. “It was a great team effort, a good response to conceding a goal early, and a good momentum builder to kick off our season.”
     Thursday evening the Hillmen improved to 2–0 in SWC by surviving a 1–0 defensive battle at River Valley.
     Vesperman scored the game-winner in the 49th minute when Ryan Roling’s corner kick dropped into a crowd in front of the goal and Vesperman chested in from a yard out.
     Hillmen defenders Jared Straka, Dan Trewin, Nick Mewhirter, Jack Schaffer and Levon Swenson helped control the game as Briggs faced just two shots in the shutout.
     Saturday Platteville/Lancaster dropped a 5–0 non-conference decision to Marshfield in the first game of the Sun Prairie Quadrangular. But the tired Hillmen responded in their second match of the day by rallying from a 3–0 second-half deficit to earn a 3–3 tie with Fort Atkinson.
     Nate Roling scored a pair of goals in the comeback, and LaBudda tallied one.
     Platteville/Lancaster (2–1–1, 2–0 SWC) hosted Richland Center on Tuesday and will now host Prairie du Chien Thursday afternoon to complete the first leg of SWC play.

Platteville/Lancaster 5, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 1
(from Tuesday, Aug. 19 @ Dodgeville)
Dodgeville/Mineral Point        1       0    —   1
Platteville/Lancaster                 2       3    —   5
First half —  D/MP: Jack Schickel; P/L: Julian LaBudda (Nate Roling), Nate Roling (Ryan Pink).
Second half — P/L: LaBudda (Pink), Clay Vesperman (Jon Murphy), Ying Xiong.
Saves — P/L: Devon Briggs 3; D/MP: 6. Shots on Goal — P/L: 11; D/MP: 4.

Platteville/Lancaster 1, River Valley 0
(from Thursday, Aug. 21 @ Spring Green)
Platteville/Lancaster        0       1    —   0
River Valley                     0       0    —   0
First half — none.
Second half — P/L: Clay Vesperman (Ryan Roling) 48:53.
Saves — P/L: Devon Briggs 2; RV: Brandon Gilbeck 3. Shots on Goal — P/L: 4; RV: 2.

Sun Prairie Quad
Marshfield 5, Platteville/Lancaster 0
(from Saturday, Aug. 23 @ Sun Prairie)
Platteville/Lancaster        0       0    —   0
Sun Prairie                       3       2    —   5
First half — M: Jake Limmex (Brandon Nikolai), Alex Sainterme (Chris Pahl), Pahl (Sainterme).
Second half — M: Sainterme (Alex Hinson), Luke McCann.
Saves — P/L: Devon Briggs 2; M: 2. Shots on Goal — P/L: 2; M: 7.

Sun Prairie Quad
Platteville/Lancaster 3, Fort Atkinson 3
(from Saturday, Aug. 23 @ Sun Prairie)
Platteville/Lancaster        0       3    —   3
Fort Atkinson                   2       1    —   3
First half — FA: Xander Kessler (Luis Jarillo), Jarillo (Brendan Knoflicek).
Second half — FA: Geovanni Esquivel; P/L: Julian LaBudda, Nate Roling (Ryan Pink), Nate Roling.
Saves — P/L: Devon Briggs 3; FA: 7. Shots on Goal — P/L: 10; FA: 6.