Pioneers fall to Viterbo in five-set battle
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers (20-10) fell to Viterbo (25-4) in a five-set battle 25-22, 17-25, 25-16, 20-25, 15-7.
The teams played before a packed house, as the game was "Yell Night," a part of the Homecoming week festivities at UW-Platteville.
Before the contest, UW-Platteville introduced its new mascot, Pioneer Pete.
The Pioneers had three players with double-digit kills: seniors Samantha Rampart and Danielle Cushley, junior Stephanie Kirchner and sophomore LeeAnn Mizgalski had 10, 14, 12, and 13 kills, respectively. Kirchner added nine digs to the team effort.
The Pioneers offense was out of sync early in the first set. Head coach Deb Schulman called a timeout, and immediately the Pioneers began converting their scoring chances and playing stronger defense. Pioneers junior Stephanie Kirchner capped off the Pioneer victory in the first set, 25-22.
Viterbo came out hot in the second set, jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead. The Pioneers climbed back into the contest, cutting their deficit to just two at 16-14. Viterbo called a timeout, and answered with a 9-3 run, taking the second set 25-17.
The home team build an early 13-7 lead in the third set. The teams played nearly point-for-point from that juncture, but the Pioneers early lead was too much to surmount and the Pioneers took the set 25-16.
The Pioneers' momentum carried into the fourth set, as the team built a 5-2 lead. A resilient Viterbo continued to fight, and took control back from the Pioneers on the strength of a 9-2 run. The Pioneers answered back, tying the game at 12 apiece. The teams were neck and neck through the teen scores, until Viterbo went on a 7-3 run to win the set 25-20.
The decisive fifth set featured strong play and high emotions from both squads. Viterbo held an 8-5 lead when the teams switched sides. The Pioneers kept the game within reach but were unable to complete the comeback bid, falling 15-7.
The Pioneers play next Oct. 24 against Edgewood on Bo Ryan Court.