Sports

Thu
13
Sep
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Boys spikers shine at New Berlin Invite

Middleton’s boys’ volleyball team wanted to test itself.

The Cardinals wanted to see if they fit with the best of the best.

Now they know. And they like the answers.

Middleton went to the star-studded, 16-team New Berlin Invite last Saturday and shined. The Cardinals reached the semifinals of the event, before losing to Germantown, 25-22, 25-23.

“Well we wanted to see where we stood in state and now we know,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “Extremely pleased with our play and know we can get better if we are more consistent with our serves and play better defense.”

Middleton’s pool play included matches with three schools — Appleton North, Arrowhead and Germantown — that have been state powers for years. North has been to the state tournament seven times since 2002, Arrowhead has gone to state six times this century and Germantown has reached the state tournament five times since 2011.

Fri
31
Aug
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Verona knocks off Middleton

VERONA — Ortez Lockett stood in the west endzone at Verona High School late last Friday.

Middleton’s senior defensive yelled, he pleaded and he implored. And when Lockett finished, he wiped away tears.

It was, by many accounts, the most impassioned speech a Middleton football player had given in years.

“This is our last year for me as a senior and the other seniors,” Lockett said. “And I just have to get that across the juniors’ heads. Our team, I know it’s the strongest team out there in the conference. We just have to go and prove it.”

Middleton failed to prove that last Friday and suffered a 27-22 defeat to Verona. The Cardinals hurt themselves with inconsistency on offense, defensive breakdowns and a bevy of self-inflicted wounds.

Verona moved into a three-way tie atop the Big Eight Conference at 2-0, while the Cardinals slipped to 1-1. And afterwards, Lockett & Co. vowed not to let it happen again.

Fri
31
Aug
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Boys spikers hope to take it up a notch

Ben White doesn’t mince words.

Middleton’s boys’ volleyball coach and his ultra-successful Cardinals have built one of the strongest programs in the state.

Middleton has won 11 of the last 12 Big Eight Conference championships. The Cardinals have a 63-game winning streak in the league.

Middleton is coming off a season where it set a school-record with 33 wins. And the Cardinals have been to the state tournament five straight years.

Many programs dream of such success, and White certainly appreciates what his teams have accomplished. But what drives White and everyone inside his program is the fact the Cardinals haven’t won a match at state since 2008, going 0-6 at state in that time.

Fri
31
Aug
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MHS' boys cross country team is set to shine

Never has Middleton’s boys’ cross country program been in better shape than it is today.

Never have the Cardinals had this amount of talent, depth and experience.

Never has Middleton enjoyed this level of quality coaching.

Add it all up and it figures to be a memorable season for the Cardinals.

“I'm excited for this season on so many levels and I think we can have another special season,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “We have a great group of guys and this group knows how to get it done. I can't wait!”

The Cardinals proved last season they understood how to get it done.

Middleton won its first WIAA Division 1 state championship since 1992. At state, the Cardinals outdistanced runner-up Stevens Point by 101 points — which was the largest margin of victory in state history.

Fri
24
Aug
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Football Cards cruise past Madison East

After a shaky start last Friday, Middleton’s offense could seemingly do no wrong.

Big plays were plentiful and even broken plays went for big gains.

It all added up to an impressive 50-0 season-opening Big Eight Conference victory for the Cardinals over Madison East on the new turf field at Otto Breitenbach Stadium.

“You always worry going into the first game, ‘Is there something we didn’t cover? Is there something we didn’t work on enough?’ ” Middleton co-coach Tim Simon said. “But I think all three facets of the game came together really well.”

Fri
24
Aug
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Boys soccer team expects to reload

Ben Kollasch hopes people sleep on Middleton’s boys soccer team this fall.

Many will look at a program that graduated a gifted eight-person senior class and view them as susceptible. They’ll see a team that lost five all-conference players, including all-state selections in forward Derek Waleffe and midfielder Drake Vandermause, and see vulnerability.

Oh well.

“If people look at last year and who we graduated, we will blow right past them because they didn't get to see the talent the younger guys had,” said Kollasch, whose beginning his sixth season as Middleton’s head coach. “These guys will surprise people.”

There’s no question, the group Middleton said goodbye to was unique.

Waleffe had an area-best 45 goals, which was the seventh-most in the state, and eight game-winning goals. Waleffe added 13 assists, ranked seventh in the state with 103 points and was named first-team all-state.

Fri
24
Aug
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Girls spikers hoping to end drought

Nearly a decade ago, it all seemed so easy.

Middleton’s girls volleyball team went to consecutive state tournaments in 2008-’09. And that marked the fourth time since 2001 the Cardinals qualified for state.

In the nine years since, though, Middleton hasn’t been back. The Cardinals have remained a high-level program, but a trip to state has eluded them.

Middleton is hoping to change all of that in 2018, though.

The Cardinals welcome back nine seniors, including first-team all-conference outside hitter Lily Welti, from a team that shared the Big Eight Conference title a year ago.

“With nine seniors and the experience level that we have, we definitely are looking at not only winning the Big Eight, but taking that trip to state,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said.

Fri
24
Aug
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Cross Plains' HTL team ousts Middleton

It has been a long wait for Kenny Allen and the Cross Plains Businessmen.

Since winning the 2011 Home Talent League Sunday championship, there have been some close calls, but no more trips to the league’s final round of four teams.

Until now.

Allen tossed a complete game and had two hits, Will Doherty hit a solo home run and sixth-seeded Cross Plains played outstanding defense to hold off second-seeded Middleton, 2-1, in the HTL Northern Section championship game at Sorenson-Bakken Field on Sunday.

“Kenny pitched all but four innings and we played the top three teams,” said Cross Plains manager Randy Meinholz, who was fighting back the tears after the Businessmen won their third straight playoff game on the road.

“But it’s not only pitching. The defense was unbelievable. I’m so damn proud of these guys.”

Wed
15
Aug
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Middleton's offense figures to be potent

Every November, Middleton co-head football coach Tim Simon heads to Camp Randall to watch the state football championship games. And every time, Simon has the same thought.

“I always think this could be and it should be us,” Simon said.

Jason Pertzborn, who will also serve as Middleton’s co-head coach this year, has a similar feeling.

“We should be there,” Pertzborn said. “Absolutely.”

Maybe, just maybe Middleton can make a run at its first state title since 1987 this season.

The Cardinals, who finished second in the Big Eight last year at 8-1 and went 9-2 overall, were picked to win the conference in a preseason vote of league coaches.

Middleton’s defense is always in good hands with veteran coordinator Tom Cabalka. And an offense that averaged 31.8 points per game could be even better.

Wed
15
Aug
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Middleton's defense should be stout

Tom Cabalka still hasn’t watched the tape.

He can’t. He won’t.

“It’s too tough,” Middleton’s defensive coordinator said.

And how.

Middleton led Madison West, 27-23, in the closing seconds of a WIAA Division 1 Level 2 playoff game last October. But on a fourth and goal with 15 seconds left, West’s Keishawn Shanklin scored from 1-yard out to give West a 30-27 win.

In the 10 months since, Cabalka hasn’t watched the film. And he’s certain he won’t until later this month, when Middleton and West meet in Week 3 of the regular season.

“The tough part is we had so many opportunities to make stops and we didn’t,” Cabalka said. “Their athletic ability was better than ours … and we just didn’t make the plays.”

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