WEST SALEM — A year after winning a share of the program’s first conference title in 16 years the Platteville volleyball team will have a bit of a new look.
Gone are all-conference players Tess Stecklein, Katie Lucas and Megan Moss.
Filling their proverbial shoes will be a quintet of eager, yet talented freshman.
Senior middle hitters Julia Lawinger — a two-time all-conference pick — and Mackenzie Bartels, will be Platteville’s go-to hitters this season, but the Hillmen will only go as far as their fresh faces allow.
Platteville’s top returning players aside from Lawinger and Bartels are only sophomores — libero Briette Updike and outside hitter Ashley Budden.
While the future of Hillmen volleyball seems bright the time is now for Lawinger and Bartels.
The senior co-captains had their first chance to play a regular season match with freshmen newcomers Jenna Phillips (S), Morgan Stecklein (OH), Maddie Carroll (OH), Claire Tashner (S) and Rachel Emendorfer (S) this past weekend.
The new-look Hillmen traveled to West Salem where they won 10 of the 14 games they played finished third at the eight-team West Salem Invitational.
Mukwoago won the tournament with a 13–1 mark finishing just ahead of Eau Claire North (12–2).
“I am pleased with the team’s overall performance,” said Hillmen head coach Yvette Statz. “The team meshed together nicely. We need to be more talkative out on the court but that will come when they play more together.”
Platteville split with Eau Claire North 25–22, 10–25 to open the tournament before scoring back-to-back wins over Whitehall 25–9, 25–10 and New Richmond 25–13, 25–19.
The Hillmen (4–1–2) were then swept by the champions from Mukwonago 25–14, 25–16, but regrouped with a victory over West Salem 25–20, 25–20 and Melrose–Mindoro 25–13, 25–16 sandwiched around a split with Holmen 25–22, 25–27.
“Throughout Saturday’s play it was clear to see we need to become more consistent in setting, outside hitting, serving and serve receiving,” said Statz. “Our middle hitters (Julia and Mackenzie) did a very good job of controlling the net play both in hitting and blocking.”
Lawinger finished the tournament with 61 kills, 10 blocks and 43 digs. Bartels added 26 kills and 20 blocks.
Budden finished third on the team with 19 kills and had 27 digs.
Updike led the team with 50 digs and served up nine aces.
Meanwhile all five freshman played well in their varsity debuts.
Stecklein contributed a team-high 19 aces, 19 digs and 13 kills. Phillips (74 assists), Emendorfer (39 assists) and Tashner (20 assists) split time at setter. Carroll added four blocks.
West Salem Invitational
(from Saturday, Aug. 24 @ West Salem)
Championship: Mukwonago 13–1, Eau Claire North 12–2, Platteville 10–4, West Salem 7–7, Holmen 6–8, Melrose–Mindoro 4–10, Whitehall 4–10, New Richmond 2–12.
Platteville match scores
Platteville tied Eau Claire North 25–22, 10–25
Platteville def. Whitehall 25–9, 25–10
Platteville def. New Richmond 25–13, 25–19
Mukwonago def. Platteville 25–14, 25–16
Platteville def. West Salem 25–20, 25–20
Platteville tied Holmen 25–22, 25–27
Platteville def. Melrose–Mindoro 25–13, 25–16
Platteville stat leaders: Kills — Julia Lawinger 61, Mackenzie Bartels 26, Ashley Budden 19, Morgan Stecklein 13. Blocks — Bartels 20, Lawinger 10, Maddie Carroll 4. Assists — Jenna Phillips 74, Rachel Emendorfer 39, Claire Tashner 20. Aces — Morgan Stecklein 19, Briette Updike 9, Emendorfer 6, Lawinger 6. Digs — Updike 50, Lawinger 43, Budden 37, Stecklein 27.