Soccer Cards fall at state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Despite the best efforts of Bradan Allen (19) and Middleton's boys soccer team, the Cardinals fell to Green Bay Preble, 2-1, in a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal Thursday./Photo courtesy of Jody Steele

MILWAUKEE — Middleton boys soccer standout Bradan Allen called it “dumb luck.”

Cardinals coach Ben Kollasch chose the term “odd luck.”

Tomayto. Tomahto.

No matter how you slice it, Middleton didn’t catch many breaks in its WIAA Division 1 state semifinal against Green Bay Preble Thursday. And when the Cardinals did have opportunities, they failed to capitalize.

The result was a 2-1 loss to Green Bay Preble in a thrilling, highly-competitive contest played on a gorgeous November afternoon. Hornets senior defender Cameron Bosacki scored the game-winner in the 99th minute when Middleton couldn’t clear a corner kick.

“I would love to give them credit, but there was some dumb luck involved,” Allen said. “They’re a great team. Don’t get me wrong. But we should have won that game. We had a lot of chances.”

Preble improved to 25-1-1 and reached the state finals for the second time in school history. The Hornets will try winning their first-ever state title Saturday when they meet two-time defending champion Milwaukee Marquette.

Middleton finished the year 18-3-2.

“I thought we had better chances, but they had chances, too,” Kollasch said. “It was pretty even. We just didn’t finish off a lot of our really good chances along the way.”

On paper, the game was extremely even.

Preble held a narrow 19-18 edge in total shots. Middleton led in corner kicks, 9-7, and in shots on goal, 11-8.

The difference was the Cardinals failed to convert some golden opportunities, while the Hornets made the most of theirs. Sometimes, soccer can be cruel that way.

“It’s always frustrating when you have chances like we did,” said Cardinals junior midfielder Drake Vandermause. “They’re going to miss some. We’re going to miss some. You just have to get up and get it back.

“It was tough. We got some production, we just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

After a scoreless first half, Middleton struck in the 51st minute.

Allen, who the Hornets sent three and four defenders at throughout the game, controlled a ball at the top of the arc. Vandermause snuck behind the defense, took a perfect feed from Allen and beat Hornets’ keeper Connor VanderLinden for a 1-0 Middleton lead.

“Bradan played a really good touch through the defense there,” Vandermause said. “I just buried it home.”

Preble had the better of play the next 15 minutes, though, and got the equalizer in the 60th minute. Hornets’ senior midfielder Ben Weltzien headed home a cross on a corner from senior defender Alex Hummel that knotted things, 1-1.

Middleton eventually re-established control and had a terrific chance to win the game in the final 20 minutes of regulation.

Junior midfielder Alex Worholic had a pair of golden scoring opportunities within five yards that VanderLinden somehow saved in the 73rd minute.

Then with just 50 seconds left in regulation, Allen maneuvered his way through three Preble defenders and spotted a wide-open Max Lawrence alone on the Hornets’ doorstep for a potential game-winner. But Allen, fighting to keep his balance, sent the pass just inches behind Lawrence and the teams went to overtime.

“You wish you could have that pass back,” said Allen, a University of Wisconsin recruit. “It’s just one of those things.”

That narrow miss actually continued a common theme of close misses for the Cardinals.

In the 10th minute, Vandermause was all alone from roughly 15 yards out, but hit the crossbar. In the 24th minute, Allen made a beautiful run down the left side, but was narrowly denied by VanderLinden.

Senior defender Maxwell Reisleger nearly converted in the 24th minute and Allen had another chance in the 30th minute. Allen’s best chance of the day came in the 48th minute, when VanderLinden got just enough of his header to send it up over the crossbar by mere inches.

“We had a lot of chances,” Kollasch said. “We hit a post. I don’t know how many were cleared. We had some really good chances and it just didn’t quite go. And then we got unlucky on (Preble’s) last goal.”

Preble had its share of chances, as well. And when neither side could convert down the stretch, the game went to overtime.

There, the Hornets had a corner kick in the 99th minute that Middleton seemingly defended to perfection. But the Cardinals’ clearing pass struck a Middleton player and the ball remained in the box.

Bosacki took full advantage of the early holiday gift and beat Middleton keeper Brendon Martin.

“We didn’t quite get it cleared out and sometimes luck plays a part in this,” Kollasch said. “I won’t say their win was lucky, but in this particular instance, it was odd luck. It went off of one of our guys … bounced off the other way and we just got unlucky.”

Middleton wasn’t done yet.
The Cardinals had a flurry of shots on goal early in the second overtime. The best opportunity came from Worholic, who was narrowly denied.

Junior midfielder Derek Waleffe had a chance midway through the second overtime that came up short. And the Hornets made things extremely tough by packing all 11 of their players into the box.

“They played their hearts out. We played our hearts out,” Allen said. “It just didn’t go our way.”

Most of the season went Middleton’s way, though.

The Cardinals reached the state tournament for the first time since 2011 and the first time in Kollasch’s four years as head coach.

Middleton went 13-0-1 in its first 14 games and climbed as high as No. 2 in the state rankings. And the Cardinals outscored their postseason foes, 22-2, before reaching state.

“It was so fun. Just a great year,” Vandermause said. “I couldn’t ask for more. Making it to state, that’s an accomplishment in itself.

“I definitely think we should have won that game. Obviously we wanted a gold ball, but we’ll be back.”

Allen agreed.

“I know I was only here four years, but these kids are family,” Allen said. “And they’ll always be family. This year was so fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’ve got to be proud about what we accomplished.”

As Kollasch left Uihlein Soccer Park, he did so filled with pride about his 2016 team — and a little sadness that the season ended when it did.

“It’s both sweet and bittersweet,” Kollasch said of the season. “I feel like maybe we could say we left some things on the table. The Preble team certainly deserves credit, but there’s always some luck that goes into it and I’d say we had some odd luck.

“You feel bad for the guys. We had a little bit of a monkey on our back. We had some times we didn’t produce. But they were a terrific group and they’re the reason you keep coming back to coach.

“We have some good things coming. We’re doing it better around here every year and I expect we will next year, as well.”


Nov. 3

WIAA Division 1 state semifinals

Middleton ……………… 0 1 0 0 — 1

Green Bay Preble ……… 0 1 1 0 — 2

Second half: M — Vandermause (Allen), 50:42; GBP — Weltzien (Hummel), 59:04.

Overtime: GBP — Bosacki, 98:57.

Saves — M (Martin) 6; GBP (VanderLinden) 10. Shots — M 5-8-1-4-18 (Allen 6, Waleffe 3, Warholic 3, Vandermause 2, Pauly 2, Lawrence 1, Raisleger 1); GBP 8-8-3-0-19 (Putzier 6, Bosacki 4, DeCastro 3, Weltzien 2, Hummel 1, Starks 1, Jankowski 1, Sanchez 1). Shots on goal — M 11; GBP 8. Corner kicks — M 9, GBP 7. Offside — M 2, GBP 3. Yellow cards — M (Warholic) 1; GBP (De Castro) 1.


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