Soccer Cards two steps from state

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Ben Tutewohl (left) and Middleton's boys soccer team won a regional title last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They are halfway home on their quest for a return trip to the state tournament.

Middleton’s boys soccer team is fully aware, though, that the second half of this journey will be far more difficult than the first.

The fifth-seeded Cardinals downed 12th-seeded Madison La Follette, 3-1, in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal on Oct. 22. Middleton then defeated fourth-seeded and host Oconomowoc, 2-0, in a regional final last Saturday.

Middleton now heads to top-seeded Verona for a sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. The sectional final is Saturday at 4 p.m. in Sun Prairie, where either second-seeded Madison West or third-seeded Madison East would await.

“Verona may be the toughest challenge leading to the state tourney,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “They are the No. 1 seed and they have a team loaded with seniors who have tons of experience.

“They also have two or three of the best individual players in the conference. We will need to isolate those players with high pressure on the ball and try to make them beat us one-on-one rather than as a group.”

Middleton, which improved to 13-5-3 last week, had a tougher than expected time with the Lancers in the regional semifinals. Just one week earlier, the Cardinals defeated La Follette, 6-0, but this game was far tougher.

“La Follette gave us a much tougher game the second time around as predicted,” Kollasch said.

Middleton played into a stiff wind in the first half and didn’t break through until the 35th minute when Ben Tutewohl scored off a corner kick by Ezra Joseph.

La Follette answered, though, shortly before halftime and tied the game, 1-1.

Midway through the second half, Gavin McEllistrem scored on another assist by Joseph. Finally in the closing minutes, Max Rateau found the net after a nifty crossing pass from Joseph.

“The game remained tense through the last five minutes,” Kollasch said.

Middleton then notched a huge win at Oconomowoc in the regional finals Saturday.

The game was scoreless until the 70th minute when Peter Tuttle volleyed home a goal after Rateau caused a rebound that came to him. Oconomowoc kept pushing for the equalizer until Joseph broke through and scored on a breakaway after a terrific through ball from Tutewohl.

“Oconomowoc was a solid opponent and it is always challenging to get a win in the playoffs on the road,” Kollasch said. “We matched up well to their defense and our defense played really well.

“Big shout out to our defensive line and our goalkeeper — John Douglas, Trey Belgiano, Cian Carlson, Blake Kalscheur and goalie Nick Hinz — for posting a shutout in the playoffs on the road.”

Kollasch knows things will be much tougher Thursday against mighty Verona.

The Wildcats are 17-1-2 overall and have won seven straight games. When Middleton and Verona met in September, the Wildcats rallied for a 3-2 win.

“We gave Verona a great game during conference play and lost by one goal, which was before we had solidified our lineup and formation,” Kollasch said. “While Verona is not weak on defense we did get our chances in the previous game and scored two goals.

“We have been working to improve our scoring efficiency on the chances we get which will be critical here. Lastly, just keeping their score low (is key). We have shown we can put goals in the net. We have not lost a game this year giving up one goal. If we can keep their attack relatively quiet, we have a good chance to get an upset.”

 

Oct. 26

WIAA Division 1 regional final

Middleton 2, Oconomowoc 0

Middleton ……………. 0 2 — 2

Oconomowoc ……… 0 0 — 0

Second half: Tuttle (Rateau), 69:00; Joseph (Tutewohl), 87:00.

Shots: Mid 6, Oc 5. Saves: Mid (Hinz) 5; Oc (Harris) 4.

 

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