Van Buren. boys spikers earn honors

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Rob Reischel
Middleton's Parker Van Buren was named first-team all-state and was the Big Eight Conference’s Player of the Year. /Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton’s boys volleyball team enjoyed another memorable season.
And the Cardinals were rewarded for their successes as seven Middleton players received all-Big Eight Conference honors.

Senior outside hitter Parker Van Buren was named first-team all-Big Eight and was voted the league’s Player of the Year. Junior middle hitter Ruben Emmerich and junior setter Nick Stott joined Van Buren on the all-conference first-team.

Senior libero Matthew Stormer was named second-team all-conference, while senior outside hitter Scott Buros, senior middle hitter Sam Mefford and junior defensive specialist Jackson Pertzborn were named honorable-mention all-conference.

Van Buren put together one of the finest years in school history and earned first-team all-state honors along the way.

Van Buren, a Loyola (Ill.) recruit, broke the school single season kills record and led the state in kills with 503. He also finished second in school history in career kills (906).

Van Buren’s 52 aces this year were the second-most for a single season in Middleton history and his 78 career aces rank ninth all-time. Van Buren had a remarkable .467 kill percentage and he was also named Middleton’s MVP.

In simple terms, Parker was a dominant force all year and one of the top players in the state,” Middleton interim coach Justin Haack said. “He had his best matches against the top teams in the state.

“He's a rare talent and we know he still has his best volleyball ahead of him. We are all excited to see what he can do at the next level. Not only was Parker one of the best players in the state, he was an even better captain and teammate.”

Emmerich led the Cardinals with 72 blocks, the sixth-most for a single season in school history. Emmerich also ranked third on the team in kills (141) and finished with a .276 kill percentage.

As we got deeper and deeper into the season Ruben just got better and better,” Haack said. “By the end of the season he was absolutely destroying balls and playing with a great deal of confidence. He's not the biggest on the court in size, but puts up the biggest block. He will definitely be looked at as a leader for next season.”

Stott ran the offense, a role he excelled in.

Stott led the Cardinals with 837 assists, the fourth-most in a season in school history. He also ranked second on the team with 145 digs and third in aces (37).

Nick was the leader of our offensive attack as everything ran through him,” Haack said. “We ran a much more dynamic offense this year and Nick was a big reason we were able to do that. He's a great leader on the court and will continue to be a leader of this program next season.”

Stormer led the Cardinals with 250 digs, was third in assists (39) and fifth in aces (25)

Stormer took charge for us in the back row and that's exactly what we wanted him to do,” Haack said. “He led the team in digs and was second in passing percentage.”

Buros was second on the team in kills (197) and was fourth in digs (97).

For being a smaller outside hitter, Scott's jumping abilities and great arm swing made him a big threat on the outside,” Haack said. “Scott battled a back injury the entire season and he was never 100% healthy.

“He missed half of our conference matches, but was still able to prove to coaches, especially during the conference tournament, how strong of a presence he could be on the outside.”

Mefford, a four-year member of the program, also received the Coaches Award. Mefford was second on the team in blocks (38) and had a .224 kill percentage.

“Sam stepped into a starting role as a middle right away and proved that's where he belonged,” Haack said. “He came to practice every day with a smile on his face and worked hard. He’s a great example to our younger members in our program.”

Pertzborn ranked second on the team in assists (61) and was sixth in aces (15). Pertzborn was also given the Cardinals’ ‘Most Improved Player’ Award.

Jackson stepped into the starting line-up late in the season and became a key part to our defense,” Haack said. “He has great court vision and moves very well. We look forward to seeing what Jackson can do in the future.”



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