Pioneers challenge #9 Warhawks

Pioneers challenge #9 Warhawks

Visiting UW-Platteville fell to ninth-ranked UW-Whitewater 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 Tuesday night at Russell Arena in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup. 

Senior outside hitter Allison Jensen tied a career high hitting .455 (11-1-22) and her 11 kills were a match high. Senior middle blocker Ashlee Moore had a match high four blocks to go along with five kills, and senior rightside hitter Merritt Johnson had three blocks. Freshmen libero Madie Sailors lead the Pioneers with 11 digs and senior setter Allie Carter registered 23 assists and was second to Sailors with eight digs.

The Pioneers (13-12, 0-4 WIAC) put together a hard fought first set against the Warhawks (15-3, 4-0 WIAC) that saw the seven lead changes. UW-Platteville jumped ahead early using a strong block and scrappy defense that forced UW-Whitewater into seven hitting errors. One of four kills in the first set by Jensen gave the Pioneers their largest lead at 14-9. The Warhawks went on a couple runs to take a 17-16 lead before the teams began trading points. A kill by Moore gave the Pioneers a 22-20 advantage but untimely errors turned into a 23-25 set loss.

The Warhawks looked like they were going to run away with the second set early on taking a 16-8 lead. The resilient Pioneers put together a three and four point behind the serving of Grace Austin and Johnson to draw within two at 17-19 before dropping the set 18-25.

"I was so proud of how our team fought tonight" said head coach Samantha Birkicht. "Coming onto the ninth ranked teams' home court is a difficult challenge and they were up to that challenge tonight. Jensen had a career night not only with her numbers but I thought she did a fantastic job challenging her teammates and leading the comebacks when we were down. You're never happy with a loss, but you have to be proud of the fight."

The Pioneers play host in a WIAC matchup on homecoming Saturday, October 14th, against UW-La Crosse at 12:00 p.m. on Bo Ryan Court.