Pioneer volleyball defeats Carroll University, 3-1

Shelby LeDuc, Sports Editor

It was the Pioneers vs. Pioneers, when the University of Wisconsin-Platteville women’s volleyball team hosted Carroll University at the annual Yell Night during Homecoming 2014 activities, Aug. 8.

UW-Platteville defeated Carroll 3-1 with sets containing both team and personal bests.

Key players during the game included senior outside hitter, LeeAnn Mizgalski, and junior outside hitter, Jennifer Schmidt, who both tallied double digit kills. Similarly, freshman setters, Allie Carter and Katie O’Malley, both posted 10 digs individually. Junior middle hitter, Lauren Grady, had five blocks and nine kills while sophomore libero, Lindsey Decker, performed 16 digs.

During the opening set, UW-Platteville capitalized on a .000 Carroll hitting percent.  With a total of four blocks and a .310 hitting percentage of their own, UW-Platteville took the set 25-12.

The second set proved problematic for the UW-Platteville Pioneers, as Carroll made a steady comeback, responding to several playing errors. A major concern was that as Platteville continued to hit the ball out of bounds and into the net.

The set resulted in a Carroll victory with a score of 25-15.

After suffering one loss, the UW-Platteville Pioneers found themselves struggling to obtain a lead in the third set of the night. However, a powerful, late surge allowed UW-Platteville to score five consecutive points, taking the lead 10-7. The team continued to successfully respond to efforts by Carroll to take back the lead, ending the set 25-18.

UW-Platteville obtained a commanding, early lead in the fourth set with impressive kills by Mizgalski, and junior middle hitter, Lauren Grady.

With the score 19-13, Carroll unexpectedly came back with aggressive kills, creeping up on UW-Platteville, 22-20.

UW-Platteville subsequently regrouped and responded, scoring the next three consecutive points.

The UW-Platteville Pioneers emerged victorious, yet again, winning the fourth set 25-20.

Mizgalski is impressed with the team’s work ethic during a game situation.

“I’m most proud of how the team could band together and work our way back after a rough second set and to stay focused even with all the noise from the stands,” Mizgalski said. “We let the loss from the second set give us fire and motivation to fix our mistakes and win the next two sets.”

Mizgalski, along with other team members, are looking at this win as inspiration for the rest of the season.

“As long as we stay working together and keep that fighting attitude, we can go far,” Mizgalski said. “I can see us making it to post season and doing very well there. Hopefully making it to the sweet sixteen!”

Head Coach, Deb Schulman, takes a similar approach considering the team’s recent improvement.

“The hope is to obviously improve every time we step out onto the court,” Schulman said. “We have had lots of progress on the team. We do best when have our hitters getting double digit kills.”

Schulman also said that she enjoys the Yell Night game the most for the high energy.

“It’s an awesome experience to play in front of an exciting home crowd,” Schulman said. “It’s truly a great way to start homecoming.”

During the practices leading up to the next game Schulman said that the team will be focusing on passing and defense techniques and in preparation for a strong Dubuque offense.

The UW-Platteville women’s volleyball team will go against the University of Dubuque Spartans at Dubuque at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17.