Boys soccer team expects to reload

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Blake Kalscheur and Middleton’s boys soccer team are expecting to have another big season./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Ben Kollasch hopes people sleep on Middleton’s boys soccer team this fall.

Many will look at a program that graduated a gifted eight-person senior class and view them as susceptible. They’ll see a team that lost five all-conference players, including all-state selections in forward Derek Waleffe and midfielder Drake Vandermause, and see vulnerability.

Oh well.

“If people look at last year and who we graduated, we will blow right past them because they didn't get to see the talent the younger guys had,” said Kollasch, whose beginning his sixth season as Middleton’s head coach. “These guys will surprise people.”

There’s no question, the group Middleton said goodbye to was unique.

Waleffe had an area-best 45 goals, which was the seventh-most in the state, and eight game-winning goals. Waleffe added 13 assists, ranked seventh in the state with 103 points and was named first-team all-state.

Vandermause was an honorable-mention all-state player who had 14 goals and 20 assists.

“Derrick Waleffe and Drake Vandermause were athletes that do not come along often,” Kollasch said. “We have been graced with tremendous athletes over the years and those two will lend their names to our record books for years to come. So we can't replace them, but we are lucky in that their talent was obscuring some really talented players in their shadow.”

Those players appear ready to emerge in 2018.

Senior midfielder Greg Pauly was an honorable-mention all-conference player last year. Pauly was third on the Cardinals in assists last year (12) and fourth in points (22).

“Greg is a third year varsity player and he has been a starter pretty much that whole time,” Kollasch said. “So Greg brings a maturity on the field. He doesn't get riled up, but just goes about getting the job done so we will depend on his stability.”

Senior keeper Ben Scher was also named honorable-mention all-conference last season.

“Ben has a full set of athletic tools and this year he has experience as well to lend to the team,” Kollasch said. “A player cannot describe easily how the game changes when he is comfortable with the goalie behind him, but it changes the whole approach to the game. Ben gives us a level of comfort from his skills and experience.”

Senior midfielder Bryce Schuster could have a breakout year. Schuster was stuck behind several MHS standouts in recent seasons, but still managed six goals, four assists and 16 points last year.

“Bryce Schuster has been the most patient player perhaps in Middleton history,” Kollasch said. “Last year, my biggest struggle was how to get Bryce playing time since he is a truly gifted player, but at the time couldn't beat out our stars.”

Junior midfielder Peter Tuttle could be poised for a huge year himself. Tuttle won a starting job last year, finished with four assists and six points, and flashed the potential that has everyone in the program excited.

“Remember the name Peter Tuttle,” Kollasch said. “He can do just about anything on the soccer field well, but this year he has begun playing as if he is on a mission. Do not be surprised if Peter leads the team in goals or assists this year.”

Senior forward Andrew Lund finished third on the team in goals (nine) and points (25) last season and should be ready for bigger and better.

“Andrew Lund was our only constant as forward last year and he returns with his energizer bunny hustle and his nose for the goal,” Kollasch said.

Senior midfielder Kyle Ballweg is also a returning starter.

“He may be the best of the many Ballwegs that have played at Middleton over the years,” Kollasch said. “Kyle was a fierce competitor as a junior and is ready to guide the team.”

Middleton’s top newcomers include sophomore midfielder Ben Tutewohl, junior forward Isaac Gueu, and junior defenders Cian Carlson, Ryan Writenour and Blake Kalscheur.

“There is no need to rebuild,” Kollasch said. “Just tweak how we play. Its less rebuilding and more remodeling or adding on a deck.

“For as much offensive firepower we lost in Waleffe and Vandermause, we only lost a handful of starters and Bryce Schuster was waiting in the wings to shine this whole time anyway. We have been lucky to have sophomores learning and contributing on the team, so we are already ready to go.”

That’s why expectations are as high as ever.

“This team will be set up differently from last year,” Kollsch said. “The biggest difference is that we have experienced players at nearly every position and all of them can be dangerous on the attack.

“While last year we had two key players our offense keyed on, this year our offense can come from all sides at once — and fast. Anything less than contending for the title will be underachieving for this group.”

 

 

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