Potent Tandem of Stephanie Kirchner and Katie O'Malley Led UW-Platteville to Tournament Title
The tandem of junior Stephanie Kirchner and freshman Katie O'Malley (pictured below) propelled the University of Wisconsin-Platteville volleyball team to a pair of wins on Saturday. The Pioneers extended its home winning streak to nine matches in a row with a 26-24, 25-21, 25-14 win over St. Catherine and 25-15, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17 win over Coe to also secure its own tournament title.
The Pioneers (16-7) tandem proved to be a formidable threat with their all-around game. Kirchner averaged 4.43 kills per set en route to a .413 hitting percentage and averaged 2.43 digs. Setting her up on the attack was O'Malley, who averaged 12.86 digs per set as both earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
In the first match of the day against St. Catherine, three Pioneers had double-digit kills including senior Danielle Cushley, who had a team-best 11 kills to go along with sophomore LeeAnn Mizgalski and senior Samantha Rampart each adding 10. O'Malley finished the straight-set win with 40 assists and the UW-Platteville defense was led by sophomore Haley Jansen and senior Brooke Nichols, who had 24 and 16 digs, respectively.
In the nightcap against Coe, the Pioneers dropped their first set of the tournament but it was not enough to overcame the potent tandem of Kirchner and O'Malley. Kirchner led a Pioneer attack that hit .278 with a double double performance including 22 kills and 10 digs. Putting her in position, much of the match in the right place was O'Malley, who had 50 assists. Cushley and Mizgalsi each had double-figure kills with 13 and 10 killls, respectively. Plus, Jansen and Nichols had 27 and 14 digs; in addition, Cushley and O'Malley each had a pair of service aces as well as Kirchner had a pair of block solos.
The Pioneers cannot rest on their weekend success for long as they will host nationally-ranked UW-Whitewater on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Dig for the Cure match. Individuals can make a donation and receive free admission to the contest. Donations are being accepted by a members of the UW-Platteville volleyball team for each dig. See a member of the team for more information.