The Platteville Hillmen solidified their hold on first place at the halfway mark in the SWC season at the Richland Center Hornets’ expense here Thursday night.
The veteran Hillmen swept the Hornets, 3-0, but all was not lost, according to Hornet coach Laura Selgeby.
The Hornets went down swinging.
“I think we gave them a better match than the scores indicated,” Selgeby said. “We played well – certainly as well as we have all season. Platteville has so many weapons. They’re tough to stop. There was some great action. Platteville got most of the points, but we competed. We were aggressive. We didn’t roll over for them.”
Led by last year’s SWC Player of the Year Morgan Stecklein, Platteville prevailed, 25-14, 25-15, 25-11. The win gave the Hillmen a 5-0 record halfway through the SWC season. The Hornets slipped to 2-3.
The Hornets had an opportunity to create a scramble in the second half of the season. They could have jumped back into title contention with a win. A win could have enabled the Hornets to move within a game of Platteville, but they are now three back.
Selgeby admitted her team had a chance. Platteville started slowly – possibly a letdown after a lopsided win in a showdown with River Valley two nights earlier.
The Hornets jumped out to a 7-4 lead as Hillmen errors provided four points. Platteville soon go rolling as the Hornets missed three serves. Platteville ran off five points to wrest the lead. The Hillmen took 13 of 16 points often by going to Stecklein, the dynamic outside hitter.
The Hillmen surged to a 7-0 lead both the second and third sets. After a timeout, the Hornets rallied within 14-12 in the second set, but a 9-1 run featuring Stecklein kills and three aces by Jenna Phillips helped the Hillmen pull away.
Stecklein delivered three kills as Platteville jumped ahead early in the third set. The Hornets never got closer than seven points as kills by Allison Woodworth, Faye Bailie, Claire Tashner and Madeline Carroll never allowed the Hornets to regain any momentum.
Stecklein totaled 17 kills and 10 aces, and setter Rachel Emendorfer had 20 assists.
Madison Rizner led the Hornets with eight kills and a block. Santana Schmidt produced four kills. Kathleen Peckham tallied two kills and 10 digs, and Jenna Jones had 10 assists.
The Hornets will open second half action against River Valley at River Valley Thursday. They will travel to Lancaster Tuesday night. The Hornets lost to River Valley earlier and defeated Lancaster.