Top-ranked girls soccer team far from content

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Taylor Rough (right) and Middleton's girls soccer team is currently ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 1./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Mary Duffy hasn’t heard a peep about it from her team.

Duffy, Middleton’s girls soccer coach, isn’t sure if her Cardinals know they’re ranked No. 1 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll. And really, Duffy doesn’t care.

While the honor is a nice one for Duffy and the Cardinals, they all know what truly matters is who’s No. 1 in June.

“Maybe they know they are ranked No. 1, but that hasn't been a focus or even a whisper at practice,” Duffy said. “These girls don't care if they are No. 1 now. What they want is the chance to play for No. 1 at the end. In fact, they just want to play.”

That didn't happen last week.

Middleton was scheduled to play defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Bay Port and Appleton North in a tournament at the Woodside Complex in Wisconsin Dells. Instead, the tournament was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Many of the Cardinals were looking forward to facing Bay Port, which defeated Middleton in the girls state basketball championship game.

“The girls were very excited to play Bay Port,” Duffy said. “Bottom line, they just wanted to play.”

When Middleton has played this season, it’s been extremely good. And that’s why the Cardinals have vaulted to No. 1 in the polls.

Middleton was followed in the polls by Brookfield Central, Hartland Arrowhead, Kettle Moraine, Kimberly, D.C. Everest, Bay Port, Kenosha Bradford, Appleton North and Waunakee.

Middleton downed both Oconomowoc and Hudson in games played at Madison College April 5 and 6. And while the Cardinals were clearly disappointed not to play last week, Duffy noted that this spring has still been more manageable than a year ago.

“I am very glad we got a few games in, unlike last season where we didn’t play until the third week in April and then just had a string of week and weekend games that wore us down physically,” Duffy said. “I am glad the nerves of the first game of the season are behind us. But the nerves of each game or the potential of this team for this season will stick with me all season long.”

That’s because this is one of the more gifted teams Duffy has coached.

Middleton hopes to begin displaying that this week as the schedule intensifies.

The Cardinals hosted Madison East Tuesday, then travel to Verona Thursday at 7 p.m. Middleton is then at Madison West Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., then hosts Madison Memorial April 25 at 7 p.m.

“We will be constantly adjusting, looking, developing, honing in our skill, our defenses, our attack,” Duffy said. “We have aspects of our game that we need to tighten up and we need to continue to push ourselves in practices and games to play at our top level. Too often as the season continues, we sometimes dip in concentration or focus at practices, which leaves us with un-capitalized opportunities during games. 

“This team has great potential and could make a long run in the postseason. They have great chemistry and skill. We want to continue to work on our mental focus, but what sets this team apart from previous teams is the cohesiveness.

“It started developing last year and the team is continuing to form one solid team, with some of the best ‘team first’ mentality I have seen in a long time. We will rely upon this during the season.”

As Middleton’s quest to remain No. 1 continues.




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