The Pioneers of University of Wisconsin-Platteville fell to the Yellowjackets of UW-Superior 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 19-25, 25-18, 15-12) on Senior Night.
Before the match began, the Pioneers recognized the 2012 class of seniors: Daniellle Cushley, Amanda Fisch, Brooke Nichols, and Samantha Rampart. The group has led the Pioneers to a 97-45 record in their time and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
The first set was neck and neck as neither team was either was able to build a lead more than three points for much of the set. Back-to-back blocks by Stephanie Kirchner and Katie O'Malley gave the Pioneers the lead 17-16 and the Pioneer rode that momentum to a 25-22 win. Sophomore LeeAnn Mizgalski provided the game-winning kill, spiking a long return from the Yellowjackets. Kirchner and O'Malley teamed up for four blocks in the set.
The Pioneers were able to build a lead early in the second set, but the Yellowjackets kept the game within reach for the first half of the set. UW-Superior used a 9-1 run to take control of the set 17-11. The teams played point-for-point from then on, but the early lead was too much for the Pioneers to overcome, falling 25-20.
The Yellowjackets rode the momentum into the third set, taking a slim lead early. The Pioneer cut into the advantage as the game went on, and had the game close, trailing just 19-17. The Yellowjackets responded with a 6-2 run, and won the set 25-19.
The Pioneers, facing defeat, answered the call in the fourth set, jumping out to a 6-0 lead. The Pioneers continued to stay ahead, using strong defense and well-placed sets to keep the lead. UW-Platteville won the fourth set 25-18. Mizgalski had the final two kills for the Pioneers.
In the decisive fifth set, the Pioneers grabbed an early 4-1 lead. When the teams switched sides, the Pioneers held an 8-5 advantage. Kirchner paced the offense with two kills in the first half of the set. The Yellowjackets rallied, tying the set at 11, then took the lead 13-11. The Pioneers were unable to come back as they did in the first set, and fell 15-12.
The Pioneers play again Saturday, Oct. 27 against conference foe UW-Eau Claire. The game is Alumni Day for the Pioneers.