WEST SALEM — With a roster featuring just one senior and two juniors, there are bound to be growing pains this year for Yvette Updike’s sophomore-laden Platteville volleyball team.
Just not yet. On Saturday Updike’s young Hillmen won 11 of 14 games, posting a 5–1–1 record, to finish second at the eight-team West Salem Invitational.
Platteville opened with a 22–25, 25–20 split against New Richmond, then rattled off five straight victories to force a championship showdown with Mukwonago in the seventh and final round of the round-robin event.
But the Indians completed a perfect 14–0 day with a 25–17, 25–23 sweep of Platteville.
Eau Claire North and host West Salem, two teams Platteville swept, tied for third with identical 8–6 records.
“I was pleased with the team’s overall performance,” said coach Updike. “We started off a little slow in our first match of the day against New Richmond, but progressed as the day went along.”
Platteville defeated Cochrane–Fountain City 25–14, 25–21, Holmen 25–15, 25–18, Melrose–Mindoro 25–9, 25–12, Eau Claire North 26–24, 25–18 and West Salem 25–22, 25–19 in succession.
“The match of the day was our win over Eau Claire North,” said Updike “North was a very solid and aggressive team. They would attack from anywhere on the court and our team really shut down their hitters. We were down the first set to come back and get the win by two. We were energized going into the second set and where we were able to keep the momentum on our side.
“The team played outstanding, solid and scrappy performance throughout the entire match. I was very pleased with their composure against Eau Claire North.”
Despite being so young, Platteville is not exactly inexperienced.
Junior Briette Updike and Ashley Budden, as well as sophomores Morgan Stecklein, Claire Tashner, Maddie Caroll, Rachel Emendorfer and Jenna Phillips all played on varsity a year ago.
Updike, a three-year starting libero and anchor of Platteville’s defense, recorded a team-high 79 digs and eight service aces in the tournament.
Budden, who has moved to middle hitter after playing outsides last year, posted 23 kills, 19 digs, 10 aces and two blocks.
Stecklein appears to be Platteville’s top offensive option this year after posting a solid all-around performance of 34 kills, 29 digs, a team-high 16 aces and six blocks.
Tashner (29 kills, four blocks) and Carroll (25 kills) had very strong hitting days.
Emendorfer dished out 46 assists, while Phillips added 40 assists and 10 aces in the Hillmen 6–2 offense.
Platteville will open SWC play Thursday at home against Lancaster.
West Salem Invitational
(from Saturday, Aug. 31 @ West Salem)
Round Robin Standings: 1.Mukwonago 14–0, 2.Platteville 11–3, 3.Eau Claire North 8–6, West Salem 8–6, 5.Cochrane–Fountain City 7–7, 6.New Richmond 5–9, 7.Holmen 3–11, 8.Melrose–Mindoro 0–14.
Platteville match scores
Platteville tied New Richmond 22–25, 25–20
Platteville def. Cochrane–Fountain City 25–14, 25–21
Platteville def. Holmen 25–15, 25–18
Platteville def. Melrose–Mindoro 25–9, 25–12
Platteville def. Eau Claire North 26–24, 25–18
Platteville def. West Salem 25–22, 25–19
Mukwonago def. Platteville 25–17, 25–23
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Morgan Stecklein 34, Claire Tashner 29, Maddie Carroll 25, Ashley Budden 23 Blocks: Stecklein 6, Tashner 4, Budden 2, Allison Woodworth 2. Assists: Rachel Emendorfer 46, Jenna Phillips 40. Aces: Stecklein 16, Phillips 10, Budden 10, Briette Updike 8. Digs: Updike 79, Stecklein 29, Budden 19, Phillips 14.