Sports

Mon
07
Oct
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Sun Prairie tops Middleton in Big 8 showdown

 

SUN PRAIRIE — It was the one that got away.

Time after time after time.

That’s how Middleton’s football team will remember last Friday’s 21-14 loss to powerful Sun Prairie at Ashley Field.

Facing Sun Prairie, the state’s No. 1 team, was challenging enough. But Middleton made the task of winning virtually impossible when it committed five turnovers and didn’t force a single one itself.

“You can’t win that way,” Middleton senior quarterback/cornerback Luke Schafer said. “You just can’t. That’s absolutely true.

“The one thing about this team is we have tremendous fight. But you just can’t turn the ball over like we did.”

Sun Prairie hadn’t lost a Big Eight Conference since Sept. 23, 2011, when it fell to Middleton on this same field, 17-14. Since then, Sun Prairie has rolled off 19 consecutive league wins.

Mon
07
Oct
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Girls tennis team wins Big 8

 

They are picking the perfect time to peak.

And their foes continue to pay the price.

Middleton’s girls tennis team rolled to the Big Eight Conference title last Thursday and Friday, piling up 52 points to easily outdistance runner-up Madison West (35).

The Cardinals won titles at six of seven flights and rolled to their fourth straight conference title.

“I believe that our team is peaking right now,” said senior Madison Krigbaum, who won a title at No. 4 singles. “We have a very strong team this year and I believe that if there was every a year to get further than Middleton has ever gone, it will be this year. 

“I think that our team is ready to take on what’s to come.  We have been preparing all year for this, and whatever happens is what happens. I don't think there's anything else we could have done to be better prepared.”

Senior Emily Oberwetter, who won the title at No. 3 singles, agreed.

Mon
07
Oct
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Boys spikers shine at Middleton Invite

 

The Middleton Invite has never been much fun for the Cardinals’ boys volleyball team.

Despite having one of the state’s elite programs, Middleton has always struggled at its own power-packed tournament.

Not this year.

The Cardinals reached the semifinals of their own invite Saturday, before losing to Waukesha Catholic Memorial, the No. 1 ranked team in the state.

“All in all I was very pleased at how we ended up for the day,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “The team is starting to play together as a unit and that is fun to watch and be a part of as a coach. We need to continue to improve and peak and see where we go from here.”

The Middleton Invite is always one of the state’s elite tournaments. This year, for example, nine of the top-15 teams in the latest state poll were on hand.

That didn't deter the Cardinals, though.

Mon
07
Oct
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Sun Prairie nips girls spikers

 

Missed opportunities.

Wasted chances.

That’s how Middleton’s girls volleyball team will look back on their battle with host Sun Prairie for the Big Eight Conference championship last Tuesday.

Both teams entered the match with 6-0 records in the Big Eight. But Sun Prairie prevailed in a five-set thriller, 25-18, 14-25, 28-26, 27-29, 15-10.

“The fifth set should have been closer, but we did not make our own breaks,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “We did not take advantage of the things that we could control. “Unforced errors kill momentum and volleyball is a game of momentum! Overall it was a good match and it was one that got away. It had the making of a sectional final.”

It sure did.

Middleton had recently defeated Sun Prairie, 2-0, during a tournament in Oshkosh. But this match was substantially different.

Mon
07
Oct
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Soccer Cardinals earn No. 2 seed

 

They are confident, assured and playing some of their best soccer of the season.

But Middleton coach Ben Kollasch knows his team needs to make a jump if it hopes to advance deep into the postseason.

Middleton received the No. 2 seed in its sectional last week and hosts seventh-seeded Janesville Craig in a regional semifinal next Tuesday. The regional final is Thursday Oct. 17, while sectionals will be Oct. 24 and 26.

Big Eight Conference champion Madison Memorial is the No. 1 seed in Middleton’s regional. Middleton is seeded second, followed by Madison West, Verona, Beloit Memorial, Badger, Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker.

Kettle Moraine is the No. 1 seed on the other half of the sectional.

Mon
07
Oct
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Swimmers win Middleton Invite

 

Lauren Cabalka was worried.

Middleton’s girls swimming coach had watched her Cardinals struggle Friday night during a 95-75 win over Sun Prairie.

And now, with the Cardinals back in the pool just 12 hours later for the Middleton Invite, Cabalka had some apprehension.

“After Friday's meet at Sun Prairie I was a bit nervous going into this meet,” Cabalka admitted. “You always want to have a good showing at your own invite, if not win. So the girls were going to have to come in with a different mindset than they had on Friday.”

They did. And Cabalka’s concerns wound up being for not.

Middleton won its own 12-team event with 388 points, while Verona was a close second at 372. Madison West (354), Madison Memorial (338) and McFarland (304) rounded out the top five at the highly competitive event.

Mon
07
Oct
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Valentine, girls XC team shine

 

It was a big Saturday for Sam Valentine and Middleton’s girls cross country team.

Valentine, the Cardinals’ standout sophomore, finished second individually at the 15-team Stoughton Invitational. And Valentine’s performance helped Middleton win the team title, as well.

Middleton finished with 47 points, while Sun Prairie was a close second at 52. Madison Memorial (109), Waunakee (109) and Stoughton (154) rounded out the top five.

“It was an exciting race to watch because positions were changing until the end,” Middleton co-coach Cindy Bremser said. “This is just a taste of what to expect, since we will see Sun Prairie at conference and sectionals, along with ranked Madison West.”  

Valentine finished the 4,000-meter race in 15 minutes, 6 seconds — 15 seconds behind Sun Prairie’s Katie Hietpas (15:06).

“She has the ability to stay very relaxed running up front and holding on in the end,” Bremser said of Valentine. "She has no fear!"

Wed
02
Oct
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Middleton swimmers dunk Verona

 

There are still three weeks left in the Big Eight Conference’s girls swimming season.

But in all likelihood, the league championship was decided last Friday.

Middleton and Verona/Mount Horeb — the league’s last two undefeated teams — took part in a conference showdown. The Cardinals then proceeded to capture first place in eight of 11 events and notched a 99-71 win.

Middleton improved to 6-0, while V/MH slipped to 5-1.

“This was by far our toughest dual meet of the season,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We knew we would have to be on top of our game if we wanted to win this meet.  

“Verona is an incredibly talented team with a lot more depth than they have had in the past. They are able to come at you from many different angles, so a lot of strategy went into our line up.

Wed
02
Oct
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Tennis Cards win Big 8

 

Job one is officially over.

Now come the greatest challenges — and perhaps the biggest rewards.

Middleton’s girls tennis wrapped up the Big Eight Conference championship last week. The Cardinals defeated league foes Sun Prairie, Janesville Craig and Madison La Follette all by 7-0 scores.

That helped Middleton cap a perfect 9-0 regular season in the conference. The Cardinals will now take part in the Big Eight meet Thursday and Friday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

“Although this is a small stepping stone of many, it gives us confidence that we can go even farther than what we have,” Middleton senior and top singles player Bridget Bellissimo said. “We have many steps to go: the conference tournament, sectionals, and finally, state. 

Wed
02
Oct
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Soccer Cards closing season strong

 

Adversity will happen.

When it comes to athletics, there’s no way to escape occasional difficulties.

But how teams deal with adversity eventually determines their fate. Last week, Middleton’s boys soccer team showed it’s perfectly equipped to handle trouble.

Middleton had a player red-carded in its game at Sun Prairie last Thursday. Middleton played the final 30 minutes short a man, but hung on a for a 2-1 win.

Middleton improved to 7-5-1 on the year and 5-1 in the Big Eight Conference.

“Sun Prairie was a wild win,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “We responded to the adversity with grit and determination. I would say we played better with one less man because suddenly we were more focused and determined than ever.”

Middleton’s Jack Hagstrom scored a penalty kick goal in the first half. Then, with Sun Prairie playing with a one-man advantage, it tied the game in the 48th minute.

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