Boys spikers struggle at own invite

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Kevin McMahon and Middleton’s boys volleyball team struggled at their own invite last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

There were no moral victories.

Middleton’s boys volleyball program is well past that stage.

Instead, the Cardinals left their own invite Saturday both frustrated and agitated. Middleton dropped three of four matches and is still looking for ways to get over that proverbial hump.

“If you are an extreme optimist you’ll say you were so close and proved you were right there with the top teams,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “But truthfully, at this point we should be done being right there and instead should be beating the top teams. 

“Last year we all knew where the set was going with the match on the line. Right now we don’t have the closer. Someone needs to want to be Trevor Hoffman, have “Hells Bells” playing in their head and say ‘give me the ball.’ ” 

Kimberly defeated Middleton, 23-22, 14-25, 15-11, in the opening match of the day.

“They played great defense and they had a middle who controlled the net better than we did,” White said. “We also probably could have told our fortune for the day when on the first point of the game we passed the serve and then no one moved watching the ball drop to the floor for a free point for Kimberly. Wow did that come back to hurt us.”

Middleton followed that with a 21-15, 21-16 win over Franklin. Pace Balster was a force at the net for the Cardinals, while Jacob Ross had his best passing game of the year.

“It wasn’t very pretty, but sometimes a win is a win,” White said. “We were able to step up and get a two-set win.”

Kettle Moraine then defeated Middleton, 21-13, 16-21, 15-11. Despite the loss, White noted that sophomore Andrew Lepage had a top-notch performance.

“Kettle Moraine just has too many weapons for us to stop,” White said.

Middleton then fell to Milwaukee Pius, 25-23, 14-25, 16-14. The Cardinals let a big lead slip away in Game 1. Then after building a 14-12 lead in Game 3, Middleton watched as Pius scored the final four points of the game.

“Disappointing,” White said. “I think we snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.”

Middleton also notched a 25-15, 25-21, 25-21 win over Muskego last Tuesday.

Kevin McMahon led the way with 12 kills and three aces, while Blake Sprecher had 10 kills and four blocks. Lepage had 19 assists, Matt Caamal had 11 assists and Thomas Robson had 12 digs.

“This was our first non-conference dual match since I’ve been head coach,” White said. “It’s an exciting time when we can take advantage of a shorter conference schedule and play teams from outside the conference. 

“I immediately scheduled Muskego and Arrowhead this year as I want to play more teams from the Classic Eight. You have to understand how important these are for us because we need to be challenged in duals headed into the postseason.

“However, it was some ugly volleyball and it was reflective of days of practice leading up to the match. We came away with a win and were hoping to build off of that.”

• On deck: Middleton hosted Madison Memorial Tuesday, then is at Beloit Memorial Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Cardinals then head to the Whitefish Bay Invitational Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. 



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