Sports

Thu
24
Oct
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Football Cardinals rout La Follette

Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn was in a celebratory mood last Friday night.

And for good reason.

Pertzborn had just watched his Cardinals dismantle visiting Madison La Follette, 49-21, in their Big Eight Conference regular season finale. It was Middleton’s fifth straight win and helped the Cardinals land a home game in the first round of the WIAA Division 1 playoffs Friday.

“We’re healthy right now and we’re playing good football,” said Pertzborn, who performed a perfect cartwheel for his troops after the game. “And, when we take care of the ball, we’re a solid team.”

The Cardinals finished the regular season at 7-2 overall and in the Big Eight and settled for a share of second-place in the league with Verona. La Follette (6-3, 6-3) dropped into a fourth-place tie with Sun Prairie.

Thu
24
Oct
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Football Cards receive No. 4 seed

Beat a team one week.

Then turn around and beat them seven days later.

That’s the task Middleton’s football team has been given.

The Cardinals routed Madison La Follette, 49-21, in their regular season finale last Friday. Now the two teams will meet again Friday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the WIAA Division 1 playoffs. Middleton (7-2) received the No. 4 seed and the Lancers (6-3) are seeded fifth.

“You have to remember last week counts for nothing,” Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn said. “They don't spot us with the lead because of it. 

“They will make a lot of adjustments I'm sure, and we need to be sound in what we do. If you take things for granted that's when you get in trouble. When you understand the urgency of the postseason you get focused and get ready and you find a way to win.”

Thu
24
Oct
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Soccer Cardinals hoping to surprise

Dangerous.

A sleeper.

The team no one wants to play.

Middleton’s boys soccer team hopes this is the perfect description for them this postseason.

The Cardinals received the No. 5 seed in their sectional and opened the postseason Tuesday against 12th seeded Madison La Follette in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal. Middleton defeated the Lancers, 6-0, on Oct. 15.

If the Cardinals top La Follette again, they would meet either fourth-seeded Oconomowoc or 13th-seeded Badger in a regional final Saturday. The sectional semifinals are Oct. 31 and the sectional finals are Nov. 2.

“It is always difficult beating a team twice,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “La Follette is not a pushover team. They have some players that can be dangerous and we got a bit lucky to get as many goals against them as we did.

Thu
24
Oct
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Pientka, Rajpal shine at state

MADISON — They enjoyed a sensational year — both individually and with their team.

They went farther than they’ve ever gone before.

And when it was over, they knew they’d created memories to last for years to come.

Middleton tennis standouts Jessica Pientka and Noor Rajpal won a pair of matches at the WIAA Division 1 individual state meet held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium last week. After reaching the Round of 16, though, the Cardinals’ doubles stars fell to a team from Whitefish Bay.

Pientka and Rajpal, who played at No. 1 in the lineup for the first time this season, finished the year 27-9 and advanced deeper at state than ever before.

“I would be satisfied if we go further than last year,” Pientka, a senior, said just prior to her third round match. “That would be great.”

Rajpal agreed.

“If we play our best and do better than last year, then yeah, I’ll be happy,” said Rajpal, a junior.

Thu
24
Oct
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Boys spikers earn No. 1 seed

The path appears extremely manageable.

Now, Middleton’s boys volleyball team is determined to take full advantage.

The Cardinals received the No. 1 seed in the Sun Prairie Sectional and will host eighth-seeded Madison East Friday at 6 p.m. in a regional semifinal. If Middleton wins there, it would host either fourth-seeded Madison West or fifth-seeded Waukesha North Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a regional final.

The sectional is Nov. 2 at 4:30 in Sun Prairie.

“While we have had success this year against many teams in our sectional, we understand the playoffs are a whole new season,” said Middleton interim coach Justin Haack, whose Cardinals are 32-5 overall. “Nothing is given to you except that first match.

“We want to make the season as long as possible, and in order to do that, we must continue to improve and focus on one practice and one match at a time. We're looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Wed
23
Oct
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Middleton's Van Buren chooses Loyola

The process began in the summer of 2018.

Schools came from the corners of both coasts — and everywhere in between. And when it was over, Parker Van Buren smiled — then breathed a giant sigh of relief.

Van Buren, arguably the finest boys volleyball player in the history of Middleton High School, gave his verbal commitment to Loyola (Ill.) last week. That ended a 16-month recruiting process that the 6-foot-8 Van Buren admitted was exhausting at times.

“For me this felt like a long process,” Van Buren said. “It seemed like every week new coaches were contacting me, and it was super cool to get recognized.

“But this past summer, the pressure really started to amp up a little bit as many coaches were anxious to get me on a visit, and also for me to make a decision. I feel like I took the perfect amount of time to make my decision, because I enjoyed the process and I have no doubt I made the right decision.”

Wed
23
Oct
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Girls spikers set for postseason

The regular season has officially ended.

The postseason is here — and Middleton girls volleyball team is hoping to surprise.

The Cardinals, seeded fifth in their sectional, open the playoffs Thursday against 12th-seeded La Crosse Central in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal at 7 p.m. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll play either fourth-seeded DeForest or 13th-seeded Madison East in a regional final on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

While the Cardinals’ postseason road is tough, Middleton is also battling injury problems and must find a way to win if it’s shorthanded.

“We will need to finish the matches in three or four sets,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “Some of our key skill positions may not be able to finish the match if it goes to five sets.

Fri
18
Oct
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Middleton golfers win state title

MADISON — The goal was carved out 365 days earlier.

Middleton’s girls golf team had just finished second at the 2018 WIAA Division 1 state tournament. And as the Cardinals’ had dinner that night at Mid Town Pub in Middleton, they immediately outlined their objective for 2019.

“It was really at that moment that we said the goal was to win a state title this year,” said Cardinals senior captain Kate Meier. “We looked at the scores and that we were bringing back four girls and we knew winning state was realistic.”

It sure was.

Twelve months later, on a cold and windy Tuesday afternoon at University Ridge Golf Course, Middleton’s dreams become reality. The Cardinals compiled the best score during each round of the two-day tournament and captured the third state title in school history. 

Fri
18
Oct
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Football Cardinals run over Sun Prairie

Flashbacks of last year’s heartbreaking playoff loss were fresh on Kallion Buckner’s mind.

Middleton’s standout running back just had a touchdown called back last Friday night, and the momentum had swung back in host Sun Prairie’s favor.

“I came into this game and I was thinking about last year,” Buckner said. “We lost (42-36) and that was on my mind the whole time. I was thinking when they called that touchdown back, that brought me back.”

But, instead of his team going on to lose, a long touchdown run by Buckner on the Cardinals’ next possession helped lead Middleton to a convincing 35-19 victory over host Sun Prairie in a Big Eight Conference game last Friday night.

“We stayed tough, we executed everything, and came out with a ‘W’,” Buckner said.

Fri
18
Oct
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Tennis Cardinals send 5 to state

There is no such thing as a rebuilding year inside Middleton’s girls’ tennis program.

The Cardinals only reload.

That was evident once again at last Thursday’s WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional.

Middleton, which was hit hard by graduation after the 2018 campaign, came oh, so close to winning the sectional title. In the process, though, the Cardinals did have five players qualify for this week’s individual state tournament.

Madison West won the sectional with 34 points and earned a trip to team state. Middleton was second with 33 points and Madison Memorial was third at 31. All three teams are ranked in the top-10 in the state.

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