Soccer Cards looking to rebound

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Mantae Urban (15) tries a circus shot during a recent game. The Cardinals are 0-3-1 in their last four contests./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Ben Kollasch will head to the postseason soccer meeting on Monday.

And Middleton’s boys soccer coach will do so amid far more uncertainty than existed two short weeks ago.

Kollasch’s Cardinals fell to Madison West, 2-1, last Tuesday. The loss dropped the Cardinals into a third place tie in the Big Eight Conference.

Middleton, which had climbed as high as No. 2 in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll, is now 0-3-1 in its last four games. And the Cardinals’ postseason seed is likely to be much lower than many predicted two weeks ago.

“We have had a slump here in the last two weeks or so, but the guys are refocusing and healing up nagging injuries,” said Kollasch, whose team is 9-3-2 overall. “We are a team that can play with any in the state, so no one should count us out of the postseason.”

The Cardinals will always be a threat. But Middleton certainly must play better in the weeks ahead if it hopes to advance through arguably the state’s toughest sectional.

The sectional includes Madison West and Madison Memorial, who are currently ranked No. 2 and 3 in the state, respectively. Other powers like Beloit Memorial and Kettle Moraine are part of the sectional, too.

Middleton showed it can play against anyone in its loss to Madison West. But the Cardinals simply couldn't finish.

Middleton took a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute when Bradan Allen scored on an assist from Ty Ballweg. But the Regents scored in the 49th and 64th minutes and prevailed.

“The loss to West was disappointing, but not as much as some other losses,” Kollasch said. “West is a quality team that plays hard and we knew to expect a tough game.

“The losses we create through our own mistakes are much tougher to stomach, but this game against West had both teams playing well. We never quite mustered the tying goal we needed even though we created a few chances toward the end. When you play well and still lose you can chalk it up to experience and work on how to win when we see them in the playoffs. West may be the team to beat from this area.”

Time will tell on exactly who the team to beat is. For now, the Big Eight Conference is a jumbled mess.

At the start of the week, Madison Memorial and Beloit Memorial were tied for first place with 17 points, although the Purple Knights had played one more game.

Middleton, Verona and Madison West were all tied for third place with 15 points.

Middleton hosted Beloit Tuesday, then was at Sauk Prairie Wednesday. The Cardinals then wrap up the regular season next week, hosting Janesville Craig on Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. and traveling to Brookfield East on Oct. 10 at 4:30 p.m.

“In terms of the Big Eight Conference, this is a year of surprises and parity,” Kollasch said. “Whereas in many previous years the winner has run the table, every team has multiple blemishes already with a few left to play. Our game with Beloit Memorial will likely determine if we tie for second with West or tie for fourth.”

 

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