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Unpretty in pink
Platteville struggles in "Spiking Out Breast Cancer Night" loss to visiting Lancaster
pla vb emendorfer
Platteville freshmen Rachel Emendorfer (left) and Jenna Phillips (3) celebrate a point late in Thursdays match against Lancaster.

     Over the course of 90 quick minutes last Thursday night, Platteville’s bid to repeat as volleyball champions of the SWC took a major hit.
     Visiting Lancaster came to town and swept the host Hillmen 25–14, 25–21, 25–23, spoiling Platteville’s Spiking Out Breast Cancer Night.
     Clad in pink T-shirts to coincide with their annual cancer research fundraiser the Hillmen seemed a step off all night long.
     Platteville (20–6–3) had a number of unforced errors in the match and on several occasions were forced to send free balls back to Lancaster after errant passing fouled up attacking opportunities.
     “We did not play anywhere close to our ability or potential,” said Platteville head coach Yvette Statz. “Every time we got on a run it was quickly ended by an error on our end.”
     Platteville, which defeated Lancaster three games to one on the Arrows’ home court back on Aug. 30, fell to 4–2 in conference, two games behind league-leading River Valley (26–3, 6-0 SWC) with just four league matches remaining. Meanwhile, Lancaster improved to 4–2 in league play with the win.
     Platteville fell behind quickly in the opening set before rallying to pull within a point at 8–9, but a 7–2 Lancaster run gave the Arrows a comfortable lead it would not relinquish.
     Lancaster closed out the set with a block by Brittany Zenz and a Platteville hitting error.
     The second set was a back and forth affair with neither team holding more than a two-point lead until the final points.
     A kill by Jenna Vesperman and another Platteville hitting error gave the Arrows a 23–21 lead. Then a controversial call was made on a Courtney Mumm attack and Lancaster was awarded the point when the referee said her hit, that landed out of bounds, was first tipped by Platteville.
     Vesperman thundered home a four-point win and a two games to none advantage.
     The night’s final set began with Lancaster jumping out to an 11–6 lead.
     Platteville rallied behind the standout play of senior middle hitters Mackenzie Bartels and Julia Lawinger to take a 19–18 lead. Bartels had three kills and a pair of blocks in the 13–7 run, while Lawinger added four spike kills in the comeback.
     But once again self-induced errors came back to haunt Platteville. Mumm fired home a kill to tie the match and a Platteville hitting error gave Lancaster a 20–19 lead.
     Then a flicked free ball by Lancaster’s Paige Duncan fell in for a point, when Platteville’s back row had a miscommunication on the play.
     Platteville fought back to tie the match on a Lancaster error and a timely service ace by senior Aly Reeves — her first play of the set — but another Lancaster free ball fell through the Hillmen defense.
     Katrina Polkinghorn smashed a kill, Mumm served and ace and Platteville’s final attack went into the net.
     “We have to control what happens on our side of the net much better,” added Statz. “We have to force errors onto our opponent and not commit the mental and physical errors on our own.”
     However, all was not lost Thursday, as the night represented a much greater cause than the on-court athletic competition.
     The Platteville volleyball program raised approximately $500 for the Grant County Cancer Coalition through the sales of pink t-shirts, bracelets, baked goods, raffle tickets and donations.
     “Every one of us knows someone who is or has been affected by breast cancer,” said Statz. “This event is a great opportunity for the athletes to be involved in raising money for those individuals who are affected by cancer right here in Grant County.”  
     Last Tuesday the Hillmen were swept at league-leading River Valley 25–19, 25–14, 25–20.
Julia Lawinger had 15 kills and two blocks in the loss.
     “The loss to River Valley was a loss caused on our end,” said Statz. “We committed way too many errors both mental and physical.  The key was that River Valley ran its offense because they passed the ball well all night long. On the contrary, we struggled at serve receiving which prevented us to run our offense. We played more defense than offense and we can not win by playing defense the whole match.”
     The Hillmen bounced back from last week’s conference setbacks on Saturday by winning the eight-team Iowa–Grant Invitational.
     Platteville won five straight matches culminating with two-game sweep of Portage, 25–14, 25–17, in the championship match.
     Lawinger had 84 kills,    21 blocks and 27 digs in the five matches. Bartels added 40 kills and 17 blocks.

River Valley 3, Platteville 0
(from Tuesday, Sept. 18 @ River Valley)
Platteville                19    14    20
River Valley            25    25    25
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Julia Lawinger 16. Blocks: Lawinger 2. Assists: Rachel Emendorfer 14. Aces: Morgan Stecklein 1. Digs:  Briette Updike 11.

Lancaster 3, Platteville 0
(from Thursday, Sept. 20 @ Platteville)
River Valley            25    25    25
Platteville                14    21    23
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Julia Lawinger 18. Blocks: Lawinger 10. Assists: Rachel Emendorfer 13. Aces: Alyson Reeves 1. Digs:  Briette Updike 14.

Iowa–Grant Invitational
(from Saturday, Sept. 22 @ Iowa–Grant)
Championship: Platteville def. Portage 25–14, 25–17.
Third-place match: West Salem def. Mineral Point 25–14, 25–17.
Semifinals: Portage def. West Salem 25–17, 25–14; Platteville def. Mineral Poin t26–24, 23–25, 15–10..
Fifth-place match: Dodgeville def. Seneca 25–18, 25–23.
Seventh-place match: Iowa–Grant def. Highland 25–18, 25–17.
Consolation semifinals: Dodgeville def. Iowa–Grant 25–20, 25–21; Seneca def. Highland 23–25, 27–26, 15-6.
Pool A: Platteville 3–0, West Salem 2–1, Iowa–Grant 1–2, Highland 0–3.
Pool B: Portage 3–0, Mineral Point 2–1, Seneca 1–2, Dodgeville 0–3.

Platteville pool play match scores
Platteville def. West Salem 25–6, 25–17, 15–12
Platteville def. Iowa–Grant 25-12, 23–25, 15–10
Platteville def. Highland 25–22, 25–10, 15–10.
Iowa–Grant pool play match scores
Iowa–Grant def. Highland 25–21, 25–21, 15-–11.
Platteville def. Iowa–Grant 25-12, 23–25, 15–10
West Salem def. Iowa–Grant 25–22, 7–25, 15–9.
Platteville stat leaders
Kills: Julia Lawinger 84, Mackenzie Bartels 40, Morgan Stecklein 12. Blocks: Lawinger 21, Bartels 17, Ashley Budden 12. Assists: Jenna Phillips 71, Rachel Emendorfer 32. Aces: Budden 7, Phillips 6, Emendorfer 5. Digs:  Briette Updike 63, Stecklein 37, Lawinger 27, Emendorfer 21.
Iowa–Grant stat leaders
Kills: Kaci Myers 22, Ashley Liddicoat 13, Kylie Moneypenny 12, Taylor Holder 11. Blocks: Myers 8, Moneypenny 5, Holder 3. Assists: Emily Warne 64. Aces: Rheann Engelke 9, Myers 5. Digs: Engelke 11, Jackie Olson 9.