Girls soccer team had high hopes

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Tyler Wilson (center) and Middleton's girls soccer team had great expectations in 2020./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Editor’s Note: The WIAA recently canceled spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Times-Tribune, we’d like to give recognition to the athletes and coaches who had their seasons stopped prematurely.

So, we’re running a series of stories on the teams that didn’t get a chance to perform in 2020.

 

Mary Duffy is always packed with optimism.

And it’s easy to see why.

Duffy, Middleton’s girls soccer coach, has taken a great program and kept it among the state’s elite. And Duffy expected more of the same in 2020.

Middleton, which went 12-4-4 last year and reached the WIAA Division 1 sectional finals, returned a gifted side. And Duffy fully believed the Cardinals could go one step further this spring and reach the state tournament.

That dream was shattered, though, when the WIAA canceled spring sports in late-April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had a fantastic chance at state this year,” Duffy said. “I know that we can say that every year, but we have a great senior class to lead and they set a great, intense, determined, passionate tone in our off-season open gyms.”

Middleton returned 18 players from last year’s stellar outfit, and nine of them were seniors.

Leading the way was senior midfielder Tyler Wilson, who was a first-team all-Big Eight Conference performer last season. Wilson led Middleton with 15 goals in 2019 and added five assists. Wilson was also voted the Cardinals’ ‘Most Valuable Attacker’ by her teammates.

Junior forward Victoria Bunz was a second-team all-conference pick last year, while senior keeper Emelie Gehrke received honorable-mention all-conference honors.

Bunz led the Cardinals with nine assists, added five goals and finished second on the team with 19 points. Gehrke had a goals against average of just 0.99 last year.

Defenders Emma Schuster and Lauren Hafeman, midfielders Kendall Roquet, Lauren Acker, Maeve Gonter and Cami Malak, and keeper Quinn Warren rounded out a terrific senior class.

“We are solid all around the field,” Duffy said.

The junior class was also loaded.

In addition to Bunz, Nina Malak and Ainsley Casper were forwards that all had a chance to do big things.

Juniors Ella D’Orazio and Anna Mintz were going to be key components in the midfield. And juniors Caroline Kruchten and Jessica Mael completed the defense, giving Middleton a Fab Four in back.

“I have a rock-star group of juniors,” Duffy said.

Sophomores Maddie Hummel and Meghan Frantz could play both forward and in the midfield. Overall, the Cardinals had a group capable of winning the Big Eight and making a deep postseason run.

“It is a very cohesive group this year with great leadership and drive from the seniors,” Duffy said. “They have put so much work into this season already, preparing for it the moment we lost last year. They have the resolve and determination to match those of our past state tournament qualifiers at MHS.”

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they never got the chance to prove what they could do.

 

GIRLS SOCCER ROSTER

Quinn Warren

Emelie Gehrke-Kallstromer

Emma Schuster

Lauren Acker

Lauren Hafeman

Tyler Wilson

Caroline Kruchten

Maeve Gonter

Victoria Bunz

Jessica Mael

Cami Malak

Alaina Malak

Ella D’Orazio

Meghan Frantz

Anna Mintz

Maddie Hummel

Kendall Roquet

Ainsley Casper

 

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