Sports

Thu
26
Aug
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Bay Port rallies past Middleton

GREEN BAY — Middleton’s football team was on its way to Bay Port High School Aug. 19 when its bus unexpectedly pulled over in Waupun. The driver feared he had a flat tire, but after further review, was thrilled that everything was in working order.

While the bus proved to be all right, the Cardinals weren’t. In fact, Middleton blew a tire itself at the most inopportune of times.

The host Pirates scored 20 unanswered points in a 4 ½-minute stretch of the fourth quarter and rallied for a 26-14 win. It was the season-opener for both teams.

The Cardinals now face the daunting task of hosting traditional state power Waunakee Friday at 7 p.m.

“I felt like we had control the entire game,” said Middleton senior wideout/cornerback Cole Toennies said. “We just needed to capitalize on offense and we could have been in much better shape. We’ll be back (this) week. We’ll get some things taken care of and I think we’ll be a lot better.”

Thu
26
Aug
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Boys spikers thinking big

They broke through in a big way last spring.

Now, they want to finish the deal.

Middleton’s boys volleyball team — which was 0-7 at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament between 2009-18 — stormed all the way to the state finals during the alternate-fall season.

Although just 37% of the state elected to push volleyball to the spring due to COVID-19 restrictions, Middleton’s charge to the state finals was still incredibly impressive.

Now, when the Cardinals begin their season Thursday at the Burlington Invite, they’re anxious to take on the entire state — and chase a championship.

“Our spring season was one for the history books,” Middleton second-year coach Rob Kleinschmidt said. “That team helped lead Middleton to a great new chapter in the program, and I look forward to building on that this season. Our guys are excited for the challenge.”

Thu
26
Aug
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Sauk Prairie edges Ashton in 10

SAUK CITY – Liam Belleveau wasn’t surprised to see a sea of Ashton fans that made the trip to watch their beloved A’s battle for a berth in the Home Talent League Final Four round-robin tournament that begins on Sunday.

“The best fans in the league,” Belleveau said of the support the A’s receive at home and on the road. “They are unbelievably awesome. I don’t think we can ever thank them enough. They’re a difference maker. It makes games like this even more fun.”

Belleveau gave the Ashton fans a thrill when he blasted a dramatic game-tying two-run home run over the right field fence in the top of the ninth inning.

“He’s done if for us this year,” A’s manager Dave Adler said. “He was struggling early today and struck out twice. But he came around when he had to.”

Thu
26
Aug
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Girls spikers have lofty ambitions

They had a taste of success in the spring.

They flashed potential and promise.

And now they want more. Much more.

Middleton’s girls volleyball team began their new season at the Onalaska Invite on Wednesday. And with a gifted group of returnees and some exciting newcomers, the Cardinals could be poised for a big year.

“I expect a nice long season this year,” Middleton second-year coach Maddie Vogel said. “While we had a fairly successful season this past spring, I think that the girls are ready to exceed everyone's expectations in a more ‘normal’ season. I definitely believe that we are in contention to win conference and beyond.”

Middleton returns a solid nucleus led by junior outside hitter Jordan LaScala, junior middle blocker Sierra Pertzborn and junior setter Evan Jordee.

Thu
26
Aug
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Golfers off to terrific start

MENOMONEE FALLS — In one corner was Brookfield Central — the 2020 WIAA Division 1 girls golf state champion — and many of the other powers that played last fall.

In the other corner was Middleton, which won the alternate-fall state champion.

The best teams from 2020 — and the expected top dogs of 2021 — collided Aug. 16-17 at the Brookfield Central-Homestead Classic. And Middleton made quite a statement.

The Cardinals shot a 619 to win the two-day, 27-team tournament. Sussex Hamilton was second at 627, while Kettle Moraine (632), Westosha Central (644) and Arrowhead (645) rounded out the top-five.

“We are happy with the way we have started this year,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “It is clear the ladies put in work over the summer.”

Thu
26
Aug
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Tennis Cardinals storm from gate

Middleton’s girls tennis team is off to a terrific start.

And if the Cardinals keep this going, they may add some more hardware to the WIAA Division 1 state championship they won in the spring.

The Cardinals opened the year 5-1, including a 3-1 mark in the I-94 Challenge held last weekend against some of the best schools from the Milwaukee-area.

“We had a huge weekend this past weekend being able to play some of the top schools in the state,” Middleton coach Matt Given said. “We walked away with a 3-1 record and gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to walk away 4-0.”

Here’s a recap of the Cardinals’ terrific start:

I-94 Challenge

• Middleton 5, Nicolet 2 — The Cardinals swept all three doubles matches and knocked off the Knights.

Rose Ryan and Lydia Sabat won at No. 1 doubles for Middleton, while Ashley Andler and Cate Ohly prevailed at No. 2. Grace Olson and Keena Cheng won a three-set tiebreaker at No. 3.

Thu
26
Aug
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Middleton softball duo named all-state

Middleton softball standouts Olivia Hebert and CC Hiorns both received all-state honors.

Hebert, a senior catcher, was named first-team all-state by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association. Hiorns, a senior center fielder, was named honorable-mention all-state.

Hebert, who was also named the Big Eight Conference’s Player of the Year, had one of the finest years in school history.

Hebert batted .592 with a .673 on-base percentage and a 1.316 slugging percentage. She had 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 12 doubles, scored 39 runs, walked 14 times and had just two strikeouts.

Hebert, who was also intentionally walked 10 times, was Middleton’s first Big Eight Conference Player of the Year since 2007.

Thu
26
Aug
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MHS swimmers roll in opener

The R.J. Leiferman-era is off to a roaring start.

Leiferman, the first-year coach of Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team, watched his Cardnals roll past Madison East, 140-30, last Friday.

“It was a good first meet, and the girls swam well overall,” Leiferman said. “It was fun to get to see the girls in competition for the first time after a great first couple weeks of practice, and we had great swims from both varsity and junior varsity swimmers.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton finished first, second and third in 10 of 11 events and had the top two finishers in the other event.

In the 200-yard medley relay, the quartet of Lily Mair, Serena Haack, Molly Haag and Lauryn Brown were first. Sophie Benson, Abby Ensenberger, Eva Anagnostopoulos and Piper Garcia-Hall were second, while the foursome of Emma Kleine, Natalie Charles, Isabell Frommelt and Ryanne Woodall were third.

Thu
19
Aug
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Football Cardinals ready to roll

On one hand, Jack Alexander was giddy to put on his football pads and hit someone this past spring after the season was in jeopardy due to COVID-19.

On the other, Middleton’s standout offensive lineman left with a bitter taste in his mouth.

“I don’t think any of us were super happy going 3-3,” Alexander said of Middleton’s record this spring. “I think a lot of us feel like we definitely need to step up.”

And that’s exactly what Middleton believes it’s now capable of.

The Cardinals open their 2021 season with a trip to Bay Port Thursday at 7 p.m. Middleton will feature a potentially dynamic offense, a defense loaded with possible playmakers and a hunger to get back to the top of the Big Eight Conference for the first time since 2015.

Wed
18
Aug
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Cabalka steps down as girls swim coach

She built arguably the strongest girls swimming program in the state.

Her athletes excelled in and out of the pool.

And the future looked as bright as the past.

When Lauren Cabalka glanced down the road, though, one thing was missing.

Time with her own family — husband Jeremy and children Mila (8) and Leo (4).

So Cabalka recently made the tough decision of stepping down as Middleton’s head coach. Former MHS boys standout R.J. Leiferman will take over the program, while Cabalka will stay on as an assistant for at least this year.

“When we started our family, I always said ‘I will never spend more time with other peoples' kids than my own,” Cabalka said. “Eight years later, and here I am, finally realizing how quickly time goes by and where my priorities need to be. 

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