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Hillmen win Sparta Invitational
pla vb
The Platteville varsity volleyball went 7-0-1 and defeated Lodi in the championship match of the Sparta Invitational to win its first in-season tournament since 2005.

SPARTA - For the first time in six years the Platteville varsity volleyball team won a regular season tournament.

Saturday the Hillmen went 5-0-1 in pool play then defeated both Sparta in the semifinals and Lodi in the championship match to win the seven-team Sparta Invitational.

Platteville last won an in-season tourney in 2005 when it captured the Iowa-Grant Invite and the West Salem Invitational in the same year. That year the Hillmen finished 20-7 overall and Coach Yvette Statz is hoping her club can build on this weekend’s momentum and produce another season like ‘05.

“It was a long day with a lot of volleyball. It was extremely hot in the gym all day long and the girls despite of their exhaustion played hard to the end,” said Platteville head coach Yvette Statz. “It is awesome to see the hard work paying off for the team.”

During pool play Platteville (15-5-2) swept Wonewoc-Center 25-13, 25-14, Black River falls (25-12, 25-12), Sparta (27-25, 25-8), Rib Lake (25-16, 25-11) and North Crawford (25-17, 15-19).

The Hillmen split their pool play matchup with Lodi 27-25, 18-25.

Because Lodi outscored Platteville in that first match the Blue Devils were awarded the top seed for the four-team championship tournament.

Statz’s team was the number two-seed and drew Sparta in the semifinals. The Hillmen got by the host Spartans by a narrow 25-14, 24-26, 15-11 margin to earn a rematch with Lodi.

In the final Platteville swept the Devils 25-21, 26-24 in another too-close-for-comfort battle.

“The team’s goal was to win the tournament,” explained Statz. “They knew they would have to play well and hard. They were focused in playing Lodi, a great volleyball program and team. The team worked hard, had fun, and it was evident that team chemistry is present.

Junior Julia Lawinger amassed a team-high 69 kills, and seven blocks in eight matches.

Senior Tess Stecklein also had a fine all-around day with 32 kills, 44 digs, seven aces and five blocks.

Junior Mackenzie Bartels added 24 kills and a team-high 12 blocks, Megan Moss added 15 digs, six aces, six blocks and five assists, and Katie Lucas passed out 97 assists.

“The team, as a whole, played the best ball yet this season,” added Statz. “Julia Lawinger attacked the ball extremely well. Megan Moss was scrappy, Katie Lucas led the team offensively with her sets and Tess Stecklein played a solid back row.”

 In the championship game against Lodi Taylor Pagliaro went down with a knee injury and freshman Ashley Budden and junior Stephanie Philipps stepped in to pick up the slack.

Last Thursday the Hillmen swept visiting Prairie du Chien 25-10, 25-14, 25-18 to improve to 2-0 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference.

Platteville 3, Prairie du Chien 0
(from Thursday, Sept. 8 @ Platteville)
Prairie du Chien            10    14    18
Platteville            25    25    25

Platteville stat leaders: Kills - Julia Lawinger 17, Mackzie Bartels 11. Blocks - Lawinger 2. Assists -  Katie Lucas 29. Aces - Megan Moss 2. Digs - Briette Updike 9, Tess Stecklein 8. 100 percent serving - Stecklein 20-20, Lucas 11-11, Updike 10-10.

Sparta Invitational
(from Saturday, Sept. 10 @ Sparta)
Platteville def. Lodi 25-21, 26-24.
Third place: Sparta def. Wonewoc-Center.
Semifinals: Platteville def. Sparta 25-14, 24-26, 15-11; Lodi def.Wonewoc-Center

Pool Play Standings: Lodi 11-1, Platteville 11-1, Sparta 8-4, Wonewoc-Center 7-5, North Crawford n/a, Rib Lake n/a, Black River Falls n/a.
Platteville pool play scores
def. Wonewoc-Center 25-13, 25-14
def. Black River Falls 25-12, 25-12
tied Lodi 27-25, 18-25
def. Sparta 27-25, 25-8
def. Rib Lake 25-16, 25-11
def. North Crawford 25-17, 25-19

Platteville stat leaders: Kills - Julia Lawinger 69, Tess Stecklein 32, Mackenzie Bartels 24. Blocks - Bartels 12, Lawinger 7, Megan Moss 6, Stecklein 5. Assists - Katie Lucas 97, Stephanie Philipps 9, Moss 5. Aces - Ashley Budden 7, Stecklein 7, Taylor Pagliaro 7, Moss 6. Digs - Stecklein 44, Briette Updike 27, Moss 15.