Sports

Fri
14
Jun
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Soccer Cardinals fall at state

MILWAUKEE — It was early Thursday evening and Middleton’s girls soccer team gathered on a hill overlooking Uihlein Soccer Park.

Some cried. Some sat and stared quietly.

And others were quick to appreciate the magical year they just experienced.

“I guess just making it here was great,” said Middleton junior forward Caroline Keenan, after the Cardinals dropped a 2-1 decision to Waukesha West in the WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinals.

“Making state was a goal. It’s a shame we couldn't advance, but making state is something we talked about all season. We all were hoping we could make it further, but it was a great run.”

Indeed it was.

Middleton, a No. 5 seed in its sectional, stunned most of the state by simply making it this far. But the Cardinals’ surprise journey ended at the hands of the experienced and powerful Wolverines.

Wed
12
Jun
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Middleton kicks its way to state

VERONA — Middleton girls soccer coach Mary Duffy would have gladly taken one save.

Cardinals keeper Meghan Ledin scoffed at that concept.

“The goal is always one save,” said Ledin, a University of Wisconsin recruit. “But I always want to do better than that.”

She did. And now the Cardinals are headed to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament for the first time since 2007.

Middleton and Oregon played 100 minutes of scoreless soccer in last Saturday’s sectional final. The game then went to a shootout, where Ledin put on her Wonder Woman cape.

Ledin stopped a remarkable four-of-four penalty shots as the Cardinals toppled Oregon, 2-0, in penalty kicks. Middleton (14-4-4) will now face Waukesha West (17-4) in a state quarterfinal Thursday at 5 p.m. at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

“Whenever Meghan is in goal, we have so much confidence,” said senior defender Bridget Arnold. “She’s just amazing. We’re thankful she’s on our team.”

Wed
12
Jun
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Girls soccer team enjoys reversal of fortune

VERONA — It was one short month ago that Middleton’s girls soccer team seemed destined for a year of mediocrity.

After the Cardinals lost to Waunakee on May 6, they were 6-4-2 overall. And it looked like Middleton was going to have a hard time shifting out of neutral.

Amazingly, Middleton hasn't lost since.

The Cardinals are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games. And Middleton’s recent hot streak helped it earn a trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament for the first time since 2007.

The Cardinals now face Waukesha West in a quarterfinal game at Uihlein Stadium in Milwaukee Thursday at 5 p.m.

“There’s only eight teams left and we’re one of them,” Cardinals standout keeper Meghan Ledin said. “That makes us happy. There weren’t very many people that thought we could get here, but we are.”

Wed
12
Jun
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Baseball Cards run out of steam

SAUK CITY – Senior shortstop Brian Lochner walked off the field Friday evening for the last time representing the Middleton Cardinals baseball team with the look of frustration and disappointment on his face.

Lochner was proud of what he and his teammates had accomplished during the season, but unhappy it didn’t end with another trip to Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute like it did a year ago.

Waunakee used a four-run outburst in the fifth inning and pitchers Jacob Nellis and Mark Siehoff combined to hold Middleton to just two hits en route to a 6-0 victory over the Cardinals in a WIAA Division 1 sectional championship game held at Sauk City Athletic Field.

Waunakee (21-3) advanced to play defending state champion Sun Prairie (22-2) in a Division 1 state quarterfinal game in Grand Chute on Tuesday. Middleton ended its year 18-7.

Fri
07
Jun
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Girls soccer team one step from state

It happens every postseason.

A keeper gets white hot, their teammates come up big, and a surprise team emerges from nowhere.

In the 2013 WIAA Division 1 girls soccer playoffs, that keeper has been Middleton’s Meghan Ledin. And that team has been the upstart Cardinals.

Middleton, the No. 5 seed in its sectional, used a sensational performance from Ledin Thursday night to stun top-seeded Waunakee, 1-0, in a sectional semifinal.

Ledin notched 10 saves and came up huge every time Middleton’s defense slipped.

The Cardinals, meanwhile put just one shot on goal. But that was enough as Ellen Jesse scored in the 66th minute to propel Middleton to a memorable win.

The Cardinals improved to 13-4-4, while the Warriors ended the year 17-2-1. Middleton now faces second-seeded Oregon in a sectional final Saturday at 3 p.m. in Verona.

Thu
06
Jun
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Girls track team makes new memories at state

The WIAA Division 1 girls state track and field meet was approaching. And Cardinals standout Darcy Dean was wrapping her head around the event’s unique history.

Each year when Middleton’s athletes go to state, they stay at a bed and breakfast at a farmhouse in Onalaska. And as Dean got ready to leave her fingerprints on this year’s meet, she first reflected on past Cardinal greats.

“Knowing that remarkable Middleton track athletes, such as Liz Reusser and Casey Cramer once stayed in the same bed and breakfast makes you realize you're part of something big,” Dean said. “It's all about tradition, and being a part of it is so special.”

Dean — and several of her teammates — added their chapter to that long and proud history last weekend.

Thu
06
Jun
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Boys track team shines at state

 

Andy Keeler had heard the stories.

But Middleton’s junior track and field standout needed to experience the state track meet first-hand to fully understand them.

“People who have competed at state before tell me that the atmosphere of thousands of people watching you and the tough competition make you perform your best,” Keeler said. “And I would completely agree with them.”

With good reason.

During last weekend’s event held at UW-La Crosse, Keeler gave a historic performance.

Keeler cleared 6 feet, 6 inches in the high jump. Not only was that a school record, it was the highlight of a memorable weekend for the Cardinals.

Middleton finished with 14 points, which was good for a 19th place tie. Brookfield East won the title with 51 points, while Green Bay Preble (50), Madison Memorial (40), Kimberly (37) and Brookfield Central (37) rounded out the top five.

Wed
05
Jun
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Pyle, Stone shine at state tennis

 

Griff Pyle and Evan Stone wanted to taste victory.

They wanted to shine on the state’s biggest stage and be at their best when it mattered most.

Mission accomplished.

Pyle and Stone, Middleton’s top doubles team, reached the WIAA Division 1 state meet last week. And the Cardinals’ tandem won their opening match, before falling in the second round.

Ben Luskin, Middleton’s top singles player, also won his opening match before losing in the second round.

“Both played great,” Middleton coach Deke Bradley said. “The doubles fought their butts off, but just couldn't quite get over the hump. They put up a heck of a fight, though. It's nice to see them end the year playing well.”

Pyle and Stone — who entered the tournament with a 14-6 record — played extremely well.

Sat
01
Jun
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Ash plays hero for baseball Cards

As the rains poured down, and the baseball field at Middleton High School got soggy Thursday night, Matt Ash never lost focus.

“I just had to stay ready,” the Cardinals’ junior outfielder said.

Ash was definitely ready. And he delivered in a big way.

After a 1 hour, 40 minute rain delay, Middleton loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning in its WIAA Division 1 regional final against Onalaska. Ash then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt that scored pinch runner Elliot Tanin and gave the Cardinals a 3-2 win over the Hilltoppers.

Middleton, the No. 3 seed, improved to 17-6, while sixth-seeded Onalaska ended its year 16-9.

“It was a great bunt,” Cardinals senior pitcher Brian Lochner said. “Perfect.”

The ending was perfect for Middleton — even if the journey there was filled with a number of hiccups.

Wed
29
May
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Boys golfers come up short

 

Tom Cabalka knows that better days are coming.

That the future is extremely bright for his Middleton boys golf program.

But that didn't make Tuesday any easier.

For the second consecutive year, the Cardinals were in undoubtedly the state’s toughest sectional. And for the second straight year, Middleton fell short of reaching the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

Middleton finished in sixth place at the Sparta Sectional. Only the top two teams moved onto the state tournament, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge.

Middleton also failed to advance any individual qualifiers, meaning the Cardinals’ year ended far too soon for their liking.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “They gave it a great run. It’s just such a good sectional.”

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