It was quick, but definitely not painless.
With the opportunity to claim a share of the SWC volleyball title hanging in the balance, Platteville played perhaps one of its sloppiest matches of the season.
The Hillmen battled visiting and champion River Valley in all three sets of Thursday’s 25–23, 25–15, 25–23 loss, but simply couldn’t get out of their own way.
The Hillmen committed 36 unforced errors and were eliminated from title contention in a little more than an hour.
“It was a tough match to lose,” said Platteville head coach Yvette Updike. “The runs of errors were our Achilles heel.”
Platteville committed errors on the first two points of the night and quickly fell behind in the opening set 8–3.
The Blackhawks (34–6, 10–0 SWC) took their biggest lead of the set at 17–10 on a service ace by junior Jenna Jacobson.
Momentum swung and the resilient Hillmen put together an 8–0 run on the serve of junior libero Briette Updike to pull ahead 20–18.
But a tip kill by sophomore Alyssa Mueller and back-to-back kills by junior Taylor Genthe put Valley back in front. A block by junior Ashley Budden and a thundering cross court kill by sophomore Claire Tashner gave Platteville its final lead of the set at 23–22.
Valley tied the set on a Genthe kill, took the lead on Platteville’s 12th error of the set, and closed out the win on a kill by Jacobson.
“To be down in the first set 10–17 and take the lead at 20–19 and lose, that can not happen to a team of River Valley’s caliber,” said Updike of her team squandering its impressive first set comeback. “The same scenario happened to us in the third set. The bottom line is that we must protect the court on our side of the net and reduce the number of unforced errors to be successful in the future.”
Platteville committed 13 more errors in the second set and lost convincingly. River Valley rattled off six straight points to turn a 9–9 tie into a rout.
The third set was much of the same, beginning and ending with Platteville errors, the frustrating theme of the night.
The Hillmen fell behind early 9–4, but a pair of aces from sophomore setter Jenna Phillips helped spur a 9–2 run that gave Platteville a 13–11 lead.
The Hillmen built its biggest lead at 22–18 on a block by sophomore Allison Woodworth, but couldn’t finish the set.
River Valley closed out the game with five kills from four different players, an ace from Genthe and two more Platteville errors.
Platteville finished the regular season 28–8–1 overall and 8–2 in the SWC.
The Hillmen opened WIAA Division 2 regional play Tuesday at home against 14th seeded Mauston. Third seeded Platteville will host No. 6 Reedsburg or No. 11 Mount Horeb on Thursday night.
A potential regional final rematch with second seeded River Valley looms Saturday night if both teams can win their first two regional matches.
“We would love a possible revenge match against River Valley,” added Updike.
Only time will tell if the coach gets her wish.
River Valley 3, Platteville 0
(from Thursday, Oct. 17 @ Platteville)
River Valley 25 25 25
Platteville 23 16 23
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Morgan Stecklein 9, Maddie Carroll 8. Blocks: Ashley Budden 1. Assists: Rachel Emendorfer 14, Jenna Phillips 13. Aces: Phillips 4. Digs: Briette Updike 13.