Boys spikers win Big Eight

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MTT News Desk's picture
Rob Reischel
Andy Keeler and Middleton's boys volleyball team went 10-0 in the Big Eight./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld


It’s become old hat for Middleton’s boys volleyball team to win the Big Eight Conference championship.

But that doesn’t make it any less rewarding.

The Cardinals continued their domination of the league last week, rolling past Fort Atkinson and Madison La Follette.

Middleton finished the conference season a perfect 10-0 and won the league for the seventh time in eight years. The Cardinals are also 20-0 in conference matches the past two years and 82-4 in the league over the past eight years.

“Those are big numbers,” Middleton coach Ben White said.

That’s for sure. And the Cardinals added to those glowing totals with two more wins last week.

First, the Cardinals bested Fort Atkinson, 25-16, 25-15, 25-19, last Tuesday.

Andy Keeler led Middleton with 13 kills and 10 digs, while Connor Zimmick had seven kills,17 assists and three blocks. Robbie Drachenberg had 18 assists and James Caldwell added 11 digs.

“I'd say for three games we played a very fundamentally solid match,” White said. “We kept the ball in play, forced Fort into long rallies and got the big kills when we needed them.

“Very impressed with Andy Keeler in this match, who probably played his best match of the year. He terminated it seemed like every time, and it helped because (Noah) Kern and Connor were making Fort's middle freeze, opening up the outsides for Andy and James.  That's been our goal all year — the middles freeze the blocks.  

“Connor and Kern still combined for 12 kills to just 3 errors, and Andy and James on the outside had 19 kills to 3 errors.  Again, very error free volleyball. Impressed at how we played the entire match.”

Middleton also cruised past Madison La Follette, 25-17, 25-14, 25-20.

Zimmick had a terrific match with 22 assists and three blocks, while Colin Gloudemans had 23 digs. Drachenberg had 17 assists, Keeler had nine kills, Kern added eight kills, and Klubertanz had five aces.

“Once again, our defense was outstanding and I was very impressed with our spiker coverage,” White said. “When La Follette would get a block, one of our defenders was there to pick it up. Probably the best we have done with that all year.”

Middleton opened the week with a one game lead in the Big Eight over La Follette. By the time the week ended, the Cardinals had a three-game cushion and were league champs.

“We knew these two matches were important because headed into the week we just had a one game lead in the conference standings,” White said. “When all was said and done, we ended up winning up conference by three games.”

In addition to winning the league again, Middleton received the No. 1 seed in its sectional.

The Cardinals earned a first round bye, then face the winner of fourth-seeded Beloit Memorial and fifth-seeded Waukesha South Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a sectional semifinal in Middleton.

The sectional final will be held Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Middleton. The state tournament is Nov. 14-15 at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee.

“It's always nice to receive the No. 1 seed for sectionals,” White said. “To me, more importantly, we don't have to leave Middleton.

“The bye is nice, but it also gives us a long break, which means we have to keep practice fresh so we don't get complacent. We don't have a cake walk to state at all, and it's one match at a time right now.”

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