Boys spikers making strides

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel

All season long, Middleton boys volleyball coach Ben White has talked about climbing rungs of a ladder.

White knows it won’t be easy. And the Cardinals will most likely take small steps rather than gigantic leaps.

But Middleton certainly made a move up the ladder last Saturday, when it finished second at the Wauwatosa East Invite.

“We are nowhere near the top, but we are still remembering to climb one step at a time,” White said. “We aren’t even worried about how tall the ladder is, we just know that at some point we have to reach the top and when we get there we can look down and reflect on our accomplishments. But not yet.”

Middleton’s performance at Wauwatosa East was certainly a terrific accomplishment.

Senior middle blocker Blake Sprecher led the way with 35 kills and 10 blocks, while senior outside hitter Kevin McMahon had 29 kills, 28 digs, seven blocks and five aces. Senior setter Mathew Caamal had 47 assists, while sophomore setter Andrew Lepage had 30 assists. Sophomore libero Thomas Robson had 43 digs, while senior outside hitter Jacob Ross added four aces.

The Cardinals opened the day with a 25-14, 25-20 over Racine Horlick.

“We knew they were talented and we also saw they had a middle return to the line-up,” White said of Horlick. “We focused on serving, passing and getting the ball to the middle. 

“Low and behold that simple concept worked. We had more aces than errors for the first time all season and got the Blake the ball. We jumped on them big time in Game 1, and in Game 2 Horlick played much better, but we took care of business.”

Middleton followed that with a 25-13, 25-20 win over Waukesha West.

“We got Blake the ball, passed and served well and played good defense,” White said. “Junior Louis Hinshaw took advantage of his opportunities and really played well. And I have to give credit to setters Mathew Caamal and Andrew Lepage for executing the game plan.”

Middleton advanced to the gold pool to face sixth-rated Wauwatosa East. The Cardinals played tough, but fell to the Red Raiders, 25-23, 25-17.

Middleton played extremely well, but finished with seven service errors and just one ace.

“We regressed and you cannot do that against a top-10 team,” White said. “You cannot miss that many serves and win. 

“But offensively we hit over .400. Kevin and Blake were huge and Chandler Squires took advantage of his one game on the day (with three kills in 3 attempts).”

Middleton then gave an inspired effort and toppled Nicolet, 25-22, 25-15 in the second place match.

“Nicolet is very well-balanced and well-coached,” White said. “And I was a little curious as to see how we’d rebound because the week before we didn’t respond well to a loss. Versus Nicolet that was different. 

“We had as many aces as errors, but our defense was outstanding and Mathew and Andrew made great choices all match. Game 1 was a battle, but Game 2 we put the pedal to the metal and rolled. Very proud of the team.”

Middleton also toppled Fort Atkinson, 25-15, 25-23, 25-15, last Thursday.

McMahon had 15 kills and 13 digs, while Sprecher had seven kills and three blocks. Caamal had 19 assists, Lepage had 13 assists and two aces, and Robson had 18 digs.

“We played well for the most part,” White said. “We did play very well defensively as we had a season-high 50 digs. Very impressed with the defense by sophomore libero Thomas Robson and seniors Kevin McMahon and Jacob Ross.”

With Middleton beginning to round into shape, White hopes his team will keep climbing his proverbial ladder.

“Our job as a coaching staff is to build off of this performance,” White said after the Wauwatosa East Invite. “Lots of good matches coming up for us to test our skills.”

• On deck: Middleton is at Madison West Thursday at 6:30 p.m., then host a four-team quadrangular Friday beginning at 5 p.m. The Cardinals are then at Muskego Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.


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