Boys spikers win playoff opener

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton boys volleyball coach Ben White was thrilled as his Cardinals rolled through their regional final./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They are off and running.

And if Middleton’s boys volleyball team keeps playing like it did Oct. 26, a sixth straight state tournament berth certainly seems possible.

Middleton cruised past Waukesha North, 25-10, 25-9, 25-10, in a regional final. The Cardinals advanced to a sectional semifinal against Madison West Tuesday.

If Middleton won there, it would meet either Madison Memorial or Kettle Moraine in a sectional final Thursday at Madison Memorial at 7 p.m.

“Since the sport of boys volleyball is growing, some sectionals now have eight teams,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “Our sectional is one of those and it's the first time in quite a few years we've had to play in a regional match. Waukesha North is a team that is definitely rebuilding and it shows as they have multiple players on their team that are freshmen and sophomores with a few juniors and seniors.”

Middleton’s Eagan Peters-Michaud and Scott Buros both had eight kills, while Sam Dettman had seven kills and four aces. Matt Ballweg had 16 assists and Nick Stott had 10 assists.

Dylan Griffith had 14 digs, while Ruben Emmerich added three aces and Owen Engling had two blocks.

Middleton rested junior outside hitter Parker Van Buren, who XXX

“We really wanted to focus on our middle attack this match, as well as limit our serving errors,” White said. “We did pretty well at both. Sam and Owen combined for 10 kills in 13 attempts. That ratio is outstanding, but we would have liked to have worked them a little bit more.”

Ballweg also eclipsed 1,000 career assists in the win.

“He continues to run a solid show and make good decisions,” White said of Ballweg. “He continues to improve his connection with the middles and that will be the difference as we go down the stretch.”

White knows things will be much tougher from here.

First, the Cardinals had to battle a Madison West team they defeated in the Big Eight Conference championship.

“They are a very solid team,” White said of the Regents. “We need to make sure our energy level matches their effort. We know we are the team everyone wants to knock down. We can't let them stick with us and have to jump out to leads in every match.”

If Middleton advances to the sectional finals, it would face a red-hot Kettle Moraine team or meet Madison Memorial in the Spartans’ house.

“Both will provide great challenges,” White said. “Memorial would be hosting us in the sectional final and I'm sure that will be intense. Kettle Moraine is playing like one of the top 10 teams in state right now, like they always do at the end of the season. No matter what, we have to earn our way to state, and that's the way we like it.”

 

 

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