Pioneer Volleyball Begins WIAC with Five-Set Win Over UW-Oshkosh
With the match tied at two sets apiece and trailing 7-2 in the fifth set, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville rallied to take the fifth set by a 15-12 margin over visiting UW-Oshkosh on Wednesday night at Williams Fieldhouse to begin WIAC play.
The Pioneers (10-3, 1-0 WIAC) tandem of senior Danielle Cushley and sophomore LeeAnn Mizgalski brought the Pioneers back in the fifth set. With the early deficit, Cushley anchored the attack on the offensive side with three kills; then defensively Mizgalski added two block solos and the duo combined for a block. In the fifth set, the Pioneers hit .261 and the Titans were held to a .000 hitting percentage.
Cushley finished the night with a match-high 16 kills and shared in team-high honors with three service aces to go along with junior Stephanie Kirchner, who had a double with 15 kills and 13 digs. Senior Samantha Rampart added 10 kills and freshman Katie O'Malley had a double double with 46 assists and 12 digs in the win.
The Titans (11-6, 0-1 WIAC) landed four players with double-digit kills including Katelyn Malcheski, who paced an attack with 12 kills that hit .139 in the loss. Setter Morgan Liebetrau had a double double with 46 assists and 12 digs in the defeat.
UW-Oshkosh won the first set by a 25-18 margin with a .400 hitting percentage and a very balanced attack with four different players with at least three kills. The set was just tied twice but it was all Titans.
The second and third sets were controlled by the Pioneer attack. In the second set, UW-Platteville out hit the visitors by a .250 to -.060 margin as Kirchner paced the attack with four kills. In the third set, UW-Platteville raced out to a 17-9 margin only to see UW-Oshkosh come back to tie the set at 18 with a 9-1 run. The two teams went back and forth until the home team was facing a 23-22 deficit. The Pioneers, then, scored the next three points on kills by O'Malley, Cushley and Mizgalski to close out the set.
The fourth set was controlled by the Titans, who led from start to finish. For UW-Oshkosh, Briana Wagner had six of her 11 kills to tie the match at two sets apiece to set the stage for the exciting fifth set with the match tied at two sets each.
Next, the Pioneers will resume the rigors of WIAC play when they travel to UW-Stout on Friday at 7 p.m. and UW-River Falls on Saturday at noon.