Soccer Cards earn No. 1 seed

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Belle Gallegos and Middleton's girls soccer team are the top seed in their sectional./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton’s girls soccer coach Mary Duffy left practice early one day last week and headed to the postseason seeding meeting.

As Duffy walked to her car, her Cardinals had a simple request.

“All weekend long before seeding, the girls were debating and figuring and wondering,” Duffy said referring to the seeding process. “Even as I had to leave practice early, they begged me to let them know a.s.a.p.”

Duffy — and the Cardinals — got some good news.

Middleton received the No. 1 seed in its sectional and won’t have to leave the cozy confines of Firefighter’s Stadium until the state tournament.

Top-seeded Middleton hosts No. 8 Janesville Parker in a regional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. If the Cardinals advance, they’ll host either No. 4 Verona or No. 5 Beloit Memorial in a regional final Saturday.

The sectional semifinal is June 11 where Middleton would most likely host either No. 2 Madison Memorial or No. 3 Madison West. The sectional final is June 13 in Middleton at 3 p.m. Kettle Moraine is the top-seed on the lower half of the bracket, and would be the Cardinals’ most likely opponent in a sectional final.
“We have a particularly competitive road ahead,” Middleton senior Megan Sullivan said. “It's always interesting to see how much teams have changed in previous years, and even in the duration of the season itself. We have improved immensely in the last few months, and we can undoubtedly expect the rest of the region to have done the same.

“And that's the beauty of high school soccer. You never know what to expect — even after a mere month or two of time. But regardless of the uncertainty concerning the outcome of the remainder of our season, one thing is certain: we are not only eager, but ready to prove that our hard work can and will pay off.”

Middleton and Madison Memorial tied for the Big Eight Conference title with 8-1 records. The Cardinals won their head-to-head meeting with the Spartans, though, 1-0, on May 7.

Middleton’s lone conference loss came to Madison West.

“We are very happy about getting the first seed,” Duffy said. “We feel that being Big Eight title champs and beating (Memorial) head-to-head, we have earned the first seed and it is ours to keep. But we need to produce. 

“We are happy to have home games going through the rest of the postseason and know that that alone is a huge advantage. One of our goals was to be the Big Eight champs and the girls pushed through some tough obstacles and strenuous weeks to achieve that goal. Now we are looking to continue playing for as long as possible.”

Middleton posted a 10-6-4 overall record during the regular season, but also played one of the toughest schedules in the state.

That was key in helping the Cardinals land the No. 1 seed in their sectional and preparing Middleton for the challenges that await.

“At this point in the season it is all about production on the scoreboard for us and a goose egg for the opponents,” Duffy said. “And while we have had our ups and downs, we feel that we are as best prepared as possible and it will come down to putting it all together at the right moments.

“We want the gold ball, not only to be recognized as a team in Wisconsin, but just to kick the ball around with our friends for a bit longer. Earning the gold ball should be a challenge, going up against Goliath obstacles and teams because when we achieve our goals it will mean that much more. 

“(We) are mentally prepared for the upcoming battle when that whistle sounds on Thursday. They have already talked about not taking a second for granted. We will once again graduate 12 outstanding seniors and we know that it is our last chance to play with them again wearing the cardinal logo.”

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