Uneven start for soccer Cards

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Max Raisleger (20) battles Mount Horeb’s Steven Abalos for a loose ball during the Cardinals’ win last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

It wasn’t the start they hoped for.

But there were several things for Middleton’s boys soccer team to build upon.

The Cardinals dropped two of their first three games last week.

Middleton defeated Mount Horeb, 2-0, in its season opener last Thursday. But the Cardinals then fell to Neenah, 5-3, and to Hartland Arrowhead, 4-1, at the Arrowhead Quad last weekend.

“I don't like Middleton teams to give up nine goals in two games,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “We played well at times and showed how quickly we can score. It was really hot for these days and we can’t use that as an excuse for giving up that many goals. Some very good things came out of this weekend.”

Plenty of good came out of Middleton’s win over Mount Horeb.

Sophomore forward Drake Vandermause scored a pair of second half goals and the Cardinals pulled away from the gritty, gutty Vikings.

“Middleton is always a difficult match-up for us,” Mount Horeb coach Mark Newman said. “They defeated us, 5-0, last season. We had our chances … but our inability to finish our best chances doomed us.

“Middleton had the better of possession, particularly in the first half. We were able to mount counter-attacks that were dangerous.”

The Cardinals then struggled — particularly on defense — at the Arrowhead Quad.

In Middleton’s loss to Neenah, Vandermause scored a pair of goals on assists from Bradan Allen and Max Lawrence. Allen also scored on an assist from Zach Whritenour.

In the Cardinals’ loss to Arrowhead, Allen scored on an assist from Derek Waleffe. But the defensive shortcomings were too much to overcome.

“Our new defensive system has some kinks we have worked out and we are ready to fully implement it,” Kollasch said. “Some of the goals came from learning the new system and needing to get on the same page as a team. We are ready to move on and shut out good teams with the new system now.”

There were plenty of positives.

Vandermause scored four goals in the first two games and showed the ability to be a “go-to” player.

“He says he has never played forward before,” Kollasch said. “I don't know if I believe him, but if it’s true, other teams have been missing out.”

Allen, a returning all-state player, also has two goals and two assists in his first three games.

“Bradan Allen is still ready to be electric on offense,” Kollasch said. “He is as focused on scoring as ever.”

While Kollasch would have liked his team to start faster, he did see some things Middleton can build on.

“We have a young team and some of the question marks are being solved already,” Kollasch said. “These first three games have shown us solutions to some of the conundrums we faced in terms of where players fit in our system this year.

“How players respond in a game is a critical factor that can't be measured in practice. We have some of the information now to start locking in starters and spots on the field, so we can get down to developing chemistry and combinations based on that.”

• On deck: Middleton was at Janesville Parker Tuesday, then hosts Verona Thursday at 7 p.m. The Cardinals then travel to the Kettle Moraine Quad Friday and Saturday.

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