Boys spikers win Racine Park Invite

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Matt Ballweg (4) and Middleton's boys volleyball team won the Racine Park Invite./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton’s boys volleyball has extremely high hopes this fall.

And the Cardinals showed exactly why last Saturday.

Middleton went to the 24-team Racine Park Invitational, bested a gifted field and won the star-studded tournament. The Cardinals defeated Milwaukee Pius, 21-10, 21-10, in the championship match.

“Great day,” Middleton coach Ben White said.

That’s putting it mildly.

Middleton opened pool play with a 21-11, 21-10 win over Burlington. Eagan Peters-Michaud led the Cardinals with 10 kills, Thomas Robson had 12 digs and two aces, and setter Andrew Lepage was terrific, as well.

“We had a 3-to-1 kill-to-error ratio, which is a big number,” White said.

Middleton followed that with a 21-11, 21-12, win over Kenosha Bradford.

Peters-Michaud had six kills, Sam Dettman had four kills, Brian Verganz had two blocks and the Cardinals had just three hitting errors.

“It was basically a carbon copy of the Burlington match,” White said.

Middleton closed pool play with a 21-6, 21-14 win over Madison La Follette. Peters-Michaud and Avery Krantz led the Cardinals with a combined nine kills.

“In pool play, we got a lot of different players in and were still able to take care of business,” White said. “Again, I honestly didn’t know how we’d do against these teams because it was going to be our first real test. I was extremely pleased with everyone's effort in pool play.”

In the first round of the playoffs, Middleton rolled by Madison West — a team expected to challenge the Cardinals in the Big Eight — 21-6, 21-4.

Verganz had four kills, and Middleton had 11 aces as a team. Lepage led the way with four aces.

“Impressive win,” White said. “Madison West has some solid athletes and did well by advancing out of their pool which had Kenosha Indian Trail and Waukesha West.

“The guys were pumped for the match and it showed. Probably one of the most dominating matches I have witnessed in a few years. Everyone came out swinging and we were firing on all cylinders. Everyone got in on the action.”

In the semifinals, Middleton rallied to defeat Mukwonago, 18-21, 21-12, 15-8. Verganz led the Cardinals with nine kills, while Casey McKean had six.

“We committed numerous hitting, serving and passing errors in the first set,” White said. “We talked in between sets about stopping the runs, and moving on from mistakes. Don't let one bad play effect the next three, and that's what happened in set one.

“In set two, we passed much better and were able to run our middles. Casey started to get heated up this match and he is going to continue to grow offensively for us.”

In the finals, the ninth-ranked Cardinals had a terrific performance against No. 7 Pius.

Verganz had seven kills, two blocks and an ace. Verganz, McKean and Dettman also combined for 13 kills and just one hitting error.

“That's an unreal percentage versus a top-10 team,” White said. “The defense that Thomas, Dylan Griffith and Jacob Nonn provided all day was outstanding. We know when we pass well we are going to be tough to beat.”

Lepage also did a terrific job running the offense.

“Andrew ran one heck of a show,” White said. “He moved hitters around, made great choices and was an offensive weapon when we needed him to be.”

Lepage finished the day with 88 assists and 25 digs, while Verganz had 26 kills, eight blocks and eight aces. Robson had 68 digs and seven aces, while Peters-Michaud had 31 kills and four blocks.

Griffith added 30 digs, McKean had 19 kills and Dettman had 17 kills.

Middleton also toppled Beloit Memorial, 25-14, 25-12, 25-22, last Tuesday.

“It was a good day to get the nerves out, shake out the rust and start playing some opponents instead of beating on each other in practice,” White said.

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