Soccer Cards not thrilled with seed

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Greg Pauly and Middleton’s boys soccer team received the No. 5 seed in their sectional./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The seed was a head scratcher.

And 24 hours later, Middleton boys soccer coach Ben Kollasch was still trying to figure it all out.

The Cardinals, a top-five team in the state polls all season long, received the No. 5 seed in their sectional.

Middleton opens the postseason Thursday by hosting 12th-seeded Lake Geneva Badger at 7 p.m. in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll likely travel to fourth-seeded Verona on Saturday for a regional final.

The sectional semifinals are Oct. 26 and the sectional finals are Oct. 28.

Kettle Moraine received the No. 1 seed in the sectional, followed by Madison East, Oconomowoc, Verona, Middleton, Madison West, Sun Prairie, Madison Memorial, Beloit Memorial, Mukwonago, Janesville Craig, Badger, Waukesha South, Watertown, Madison La Follette and Janesville Parker.

“Disappointing,” Kollasch said of the seed. “The crux of the seed is that we were basically equal with Verona and a few of our games against common opponents were tilted in their favor out of the many common opponents we had.

“It is disappointing to me in that I don't think Verona was our best game, but we still tied them and had many chances for a goal through the second half. I thought we were the better team at the time and I still do now. The larger effect of Verona getting the No. 4 seed instead of us is that our second game would be at Verona instead of our home game.”

Middleton lost two of three games last week and finished the regular season 11-4-4. Verona went 14-3-1, including a 0-0 tie with Middleton on Sept. 19.

The Cardinals defeated Beloit Memorial, 7-5, last Tuesday.

Drake Vandermause had two goals and three assists, while Derek Waleffe had two goals. Defender Noah Pollard had a goal and two assists, while Andrew Lund and Isaiah Williams each had a goal.

The game was played in a downpour and Beloit raced to a 2-0 lead. Middleton surged ahead, 4-3, at halftime, then survived a back-and-forth second half.

“This was a strange game given the wet field and being played mostly in a downpour,” Kollasch said. “This is a game that shows me that we are starting to understand how to get things done even if it isn't pretty, which is a critical skill in the postseason.”

Middleton had a chance to tie for the Big Eight Conference title on Thursday. But host Madison East edged the Cardinals, 3-2, giving the Purgolders the league title and forcing Middleton to settle for third place.

Waleffe scored the only goal of the first half after a Carlos Harried clearance was mishandled by the East defense.

“We felt good going into the second half since we had had a little better of the run of play in the first half,” Kollasch said. “We reiterated the tactical points for success in the second half. But as the game went on, our tactical adjustments became harder to execute since they were new to the group.”

East scored the first three goals of the second half and surged to a 3-1 advantage.

Bryce Schuster scored late in the game on an assist from Kyle Ballweg to pull the Cardinals within 3-2. But Middleton never could get the equalizer.

“This was an unfortunate result given the number of quality saves we forced the East goalkeeper to make,” Kollasch said. “We will certainly be ready for any rematch possibility that might come our way.”

Middleton also dropped a 3-2 decision to Division 2 powerhouse Brookfield East last Friday.

Waleffe had a pair of first half goals on assists from Kyle Ballweg and Vandermause. But East pulled even, 2-2, by halftime and notched the game-winner in the second half.

“We used this game as a warm-up for the playoffs against a perennial Division 2 contender,” Kollasch said. “We were able to address the tactical points we needed to execute better from the East game and to get our whole roster playing time against the quality opponent to be ready to step in at any moment as we run down the stretch.

“Brookfield East is certainly a better team now than the team we played at the beginning of the season and beat 8-0. Brookfield fought through the downpours that came on the murky night and scratched out three goals to give us a loss.”

While the final week of the season was disappointing, Middleton now hopes to make some noise this postseason.

“Entering the postseason I feel like we are placed well to surprise people,” Kollasch said. “While we have lost two close games in the week, we have been fighting hard the whole way and have looked like the better team in every game and just caught a few bad breaks.

“While I would rather have a higher seed to host another home game, I feel there is no one in the sectional that will outplay us and there is no game we can't win. Our results will not come down to our skill or our will, but our execution as a team.

“Derek Waleffe has been a focal point of our wins, but our losses have been down to tactical team mistakes of execution. Derek and Drake Vandermause will drive us forward and I don't imagine any team will keep us from scoring. The issue will be if we can defend as 11 players united from front to back and effectively execute our gameplan.”


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