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Girls spikers struggle at Middleton Invite

They were playing with a short deck.

So in many ways, Middleton’s girls volleyball team had a lot to be happy with last Saturday.

On the other hand, the Cardinals certainly hoped for more.

Middleton hosted one of the area’s largest and most talented invite’s, then played much of the day without several starters, who were taking their ACT tests.

The Cardinals lost all three matches in pool play, then rallied to win the Bronze pool.

It wasn’t an ideal day for the Cardinals, but they made the best of the situation.

“Overall, it was a good weekend,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “Our players did their best until the starters got back from the ACT testing.  

“By that time we could not recover and make it to the gold. We salvaged the day by winning the Bronze, but it was not enough.”

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Middleton golfers win Big 8


When it comes to girls golf, the Big Eight Conference is undoubtedly the finest league in Wisconsin this fall.

Four of the state’s top 10 teams reside there. Middleton and Verona have both spent time as the state’s No. 1 team.

There’s talent, depth and skill around every dogleg.

So when Middleton captured the Big Eight’s dual meet championship last week, the Cardinals realized what a monumental accomplishment that was.

“Everyone on the team was extremely happy when we won the conference,” Cardinals senior Sheenagh Cleary said. “The conference match that made us all the most happy was when we beat Verona.

“They have been one of our biggest rivals and we knew it would be tough to beat them. When we did, I think it made us all realize that all the hard work that we have put in this season has paid off so far.”

Cardinals coach Becky Halverson agreed.

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Tennis Cardinals vault to No. 1


It’s already been a season packed with a world of excitement.

Big wins. Huge shots. Terrific memories.

And now Middleton’s girls tennis team has this: they’re the No. 1 team in the state.

The Cardinals vaulted to the top of the polls last week. And a buzz immediately swept through the program.

“Being voted No. 1 in the state is really exciting for us because we realize that we are getting noticed,” said Middleton No. 1 singles player Bridget Bellissimo. “Although this is great, my team and I know that we are No. 1 only on paper. 

“We all are on the same page, that … we still need to prove that we belong in that spot. We have to keep working hard like we always have, and I really believe this team is going to come through and prove we can get to that level ranking in the state.”

Cardinals sophomore Kaisey Skibba, who plays No. 2 singles, agreed.

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Girls swimmers make a splash

The target was large.

The response was even larger.

Middleton’s girls swimming team went to the star-studded Brookfield East Invite last Saturday with a giant bulls-eye on its collective back. The Cardinals then responded in a huge way.

Middleton captured its fifth title in six years at this highly-competitive event. The Cardinals finished with 515 points and rolled past runner-up Verona/Mount Horeb (438). Brookfield Central (317), Brookfield East (289) and Sun Prairie (288) rounded out the top five at the eight-team invite.

This has been a great meet for us,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We knew we had a target on our backs going into this meet, especially since Verona was there.  

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Girls golfers grab Big 8 lead


Middleton and Verona.

Verona and Middleton.

It’s become one of the top rivalries — in all sports — in Dane County. And the girls golf programs are no different.

Last week, the Cardinals and Wildcats went head-to-head three times in a series of thrilling events.

The highlight for Middleton came during a triangular Thursday at Tumbledown. The Cardinals shot a blistering 324 and ran away from the Wildcats (347).

The win propelled Middleton to 6-0 in the Big Eight Conference, while Verona fell to 5-1.

“Our main focus for the week was our conference triangular against Verona and Madison West at Tumbledown,” Cardinals coach Becky Halverson said. “I was extremely happy with our play at Tumbledown.  Our attitudes were positive for the entire round and it showed in our scores.”

It sure did.

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Middleton runners shine at River Valley


Middleton’s girls cross country team finished second at the star-studded River Valley Invite last Saturday.

Sun Prairie won the event with 66 points, while Middleton was second at 71. Dodgeville-Mineral Point (85), Dubuque (118) and Mount Horeb (145) rounded out the top five.

“We had another successful outing,” Middleton co-coach Cindy Bremser said. “Every girl that competed ran a faster time than the previous week.”

Middleton’s boys finished fourth among 16 teams.

Madison La Follette won the boys race with 62 points, while Dubuque (74), Freedom (105), Middleton (105) and Mount Horeb (134) rounded out the top five.

“We put all seven varsity runners under 18 (minutes), which was one of our season goals,” Middleton co-coach Isaac Mezera said. “It’s time to set some new goals. I guess it didn't take long for this group to surprise.”

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Boys spikers struggle at Racine


It was a harsh reality. But it was also one that could help Middleton’s boys volleyball team in the coming weeks.

Middleton went to the star-studded Racine Invite last Saturday, struggled early and wound up in the consolation bracket.

“Overall we learned a lot this week,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “We learned we need to work harder, play with a little intensity and value the ball. 

“That last one is the big one. The final four teams at the Racine Invite were all the teams that kept the ball in play, not the biggest hitters. A valuable lesson.”

Middleton opened with a 21-7, 12-21 split against Kaukauna, the No. 3 team in the state.

In the first game, the Cardinals had nine kills on 11 attempts, three aces and zero passing errors. In the second game, Middleton had four kills and nine hitting errors. 

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Girls spikers fourth at Appleton

Middleton’s girls volleyball team finished in fourth place at the highly-competitive Appleton West Invite last Saturday.

The Cardinals went 3-2 overall, going a perfect 3-0 in pool play, then losing a pair of playoff matches.

“We started out the tournament strong, but were not able to maintain the same level of play,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said.

The Cardinals opened with a 25-10, 25-16 win over Wausau West.

Mane Bobadilla had three aces, 10 kills and eight digs, while Leia Peterman had three aces and 14 digs. Reed Espie had three blocks, Bre Schlueter had 20 assists and Logan Welti had six kills.

The Cardinals then toppled Waupaca, 25-14, 25-21.

Bobadilla had 13 kills and five digs, while Schlueter had two aces and eight assists. Espie had five kills and 2.5 blocks, and Peterman had 10 digs. Welti added eight digs, Rachel Severson had 12 assists, and both Morgan Schmitt and Grace McMurray had two aces.

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Soccer Cardinals surging

On paper, it was a loss.

In so many other ways, it was a huge win.

Middleton’s boys soccer team took Milwaukee Marquette — the state’s No. 1 team — down to the wire Saturday. In the end, though, the mighty Hilltoppers prevailed.

“Great game to watch, either as a coach or as a fan,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “Our players were let down by the loss, but they realize we took a big step to being contenders against Marquette.”

The game was scoreless late into the second half, when Marquette finally broke through in the 67th minute. The Hilltoppers scored off a corner kick and grabbed a 1-0 lead.

But Middleton had an answer.

Devin Ott scored off a free kick at 72:22 after an assist from Ivan Khamenka.

“After Marquette scored we found a reserve of energy and determination,” Kollasch said. “The players showed they had an answer to the challenge.”

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Middleton rolls past Madison East

In the short term, the play meant very little.

In the long term, it could mean everything.

Middleton’s football team led Madison East, 35-0, on Thursday — a game the Cardinals would go on to win, 37-6.

Early in the third quarter, with the Cardinals driving deep in East territory, running back George Monreal coughed up the ball at the Purgolders’ 8-yard line.

East safety Tyrone Watson emerged from a pile with the ball, and took off in the opposite direction. Many Middleton players initially stood flat-footed, thinking the play was over.

But not Luke Schafer.

Watson had at least a 10-yard head start on Schafer and many other Cardinals. But Schafer never quit on the play and eventually dragged Watson down at the Middleton 1-yard line.


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