Soccer Cards lead Big Eight

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Zach Whritenour and Middleton’s boys soccer team are in first place in the Big Eight Conference./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They’ve put themselves in a position they desired.

Now, Middleton’s boys soccer team will try finishing what it started.

The Cardinals lead the Big Eight Conference with a 3-0-1 league mark and are 7-2-1 overall. With the meat of the conference schedule ahead, Middleton will try capturing a Big Eight title.

“We have players contributing in unexpected ways and in unexpected roles and they are still thriving,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “This team, so far, has epitomized the theory that Middleton never rebuilds, just reloads.”

Middleton notched a 4-1 win over Madison La Follette last Tuesday and a 2-0 win over Eau Claire Memorial last Saturday. In between, the Cardinals completed a previously suspended game against Madison East and rallied for a 2-2 tie with the Purgolders.

Now comes the daunting part of Middleton’s schedule.

In a nine-day window between Sept. 29 and Oct. 8, Middleton will face Sun Prairie, Madison Memorial, Madison West and Beloit Memorial. All four of those teams are in the top half of the conference, trying to knock Middleton out of the league’s top spot.

“We have the meat of the Big Eight schedule,” Kollasch said.

Middleton will be going into its daunting stretch with plenty of momentum.

In the Cardinals’ win over Madison La Follette, Bradan Allen scored three goals and had an assist, while Isaiah Williams added a goal.

“We started to show the consistency we are going to need through the stretch and into the playoffs,” Kollasch said. “We didn’t have all our cylinders firing perfectly, but we are starting to get our timing down and get comfortable with each other.”

Allen notched his third hat trick of the season and ended the week with 15 goals and 35 points on the year.

“Bradan has already eclipsed his team-leading goal and team-leading points mark from last year at this midpoint in the season,” Kollasch said. “We have shown that we can score without him, but it is much easier to score and score big with his efforts.”

Middleton then forged a 2-2 tie with Madison East in a game that had been postponed by rain on Sept. 18.

Both Allen and Derek Waleffe scored goals to give Middleton a 2-1 lead. But the Purgolders notched the game-tying goal in the closing seconds.

“We mounted a nice comeback to regain the lead in this awkward, restarted format from the rain delay,” Kollasch said. “We are showing our mettle to come back in games, but we still have to perfect grinding games out in the last minutes.”

Middleton then rolled past fifth-ranked Eau Claire Memorial, 2-0.

Colin Ledin and Waleffe both scored goals as the Cardinals posted one of their most impressive wins of the season.

“This was a breakout game for us,” Kollasch said. “We have had injuries that are keeping captains off the field and we have needed to assemble some different personnel.

“Given those shifts and a tired squad from their third game in three days, they found ways to dominate a team ranked fifth in the state. I would call this a statement game.”

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