Boys soccer team hits rough patch

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s boys soccer team is hoping to bounce back from a rough week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

 

Adversity has struck for the first time this season.

Unexpected setbacks. Painful defeats.

Now, we’ll see how Middleton’s boys soccer team responds.

The Cardinals, who entered the week ranked No. 2 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll, went 1-2-1 last week. Middleton fell to 9-2-2 on the season, but still leads the Big Eight Conference with a 5-1 record and 15 points.

“We still control our own destiny in the Big Eight Conference as the sole leaders,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said.

That’s certainly true. But the path to the top of the league got tougher last week.

Middleton defeated Sun Prairie, 2-1, last Tuesday. But the Cardinals fell to second place Madison Memorial, 2-0, last Thursday.

Memorial’s win gave it 14 points in the league, and left it tied for second place with Madison West, one point behind Middleton.

Middleton fell into a 1-0 hole against Sun Prairie when the hosts scored off a corner kick in the seventh minute. But Middleton’s Gabe Garlough-Shah scored a penalty kick in the 28th minute to make it 1-1.

Noah Steiner gave Middleton a 2-1 lead when his blast went off the hands of the Sun Prairie keeper. Middleton then took a 3-1 lead in the 42nd minute when Devin Ott scored a rebound goal.

Middleton controlled play in the second half, even though neither team scored.

“A good win that saw us come from behind after a early goal,” Kollasch said. “We needed to push to get ahead, but we had the better part of the play for most of the game and it was a matter of time until we scored. This win showed our mettle.”

The Cardinals suffered their first loss of the year, though, two days later. Madison Memorial scored an early goal, then took a 2-0 lead just 31 seconds before halftime.

Middleton’s second half chances were few and far between, and Memorial exited with a huge win.

“This was a big game and the guys knew it,” Kollasch said. “Memorial has been a rival to win conference for two decades in the Big Eight and this was our first grudge match of the year. Perhaps because the guys took this one personally, it seems to have thrown them off their game. 

“We did not play as we had hoped. I tell the guys that we need to learn about ourselves and the rest will come. They are good enough that they don't need to worry about the other team if they play their game.

“I think in this game we started playing our opponent instead of playing our game. I look forward to the next meeting we may have in the postseason. Our guys know that Memorial has not yet seen us play to our potential.”

Middleton and Kimberly then played to a 1-1 tie at the Muskego Invite Friday night.

Kimberly took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. But Garlough-Shah evened things in the 51st minute and the teams finished deadlocked.

“We started well and were showing a good run of play when Kimberly got a goal we sloppily presented to them on a platter,” Kollasch said. “Our reaction to our mistake was not good. It took us another half to recuperate and dominate again.”

Middleton then fell 1-0 to Muskego on Saturday in a game that featured heavy rains, huge winds and a weather delay.

“We never did find our stride in this game,” Kollasch said. “This is a team that can play fast, run fast and swarm over opponents, but we never did. We failed to make adjustments to weather and wind. The mettle we had showed against Sun Prairie wore thin and we need to rebalance ourselves.”

• On deck: Middleton traveled to Madison West Tuesday in a game that will help determine the conference champion. The Cardinals are also at Sauk Prairie Thursday.

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