Boys spikers win 'Tosa East crown

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Jacob Nonn and Middleton's boys volleyball team won the Wauwatosa East Invite last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The good times keep rolling for Middleton’s boys volleyball team.

The Cardinals went to the Wauwatosa East Red Raider Invite last Saturday and won the championship at the star-studded tournament. One week earlier, Middleton won the Racine Park Invitational.

“I really enjoy the Red Raider Invite because of the format,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “You know you are going to get four or five matches and all matches are regulation matches with a deciding game. It's been our history to struggle in matches with deciding games, so the more of those the better.”

Middleton certainly didn’t struggle on this day. Far from it.

The Cardinals opened with a 25-9, 25-13 win over Westosha Central. Thomas Robson has 13 digs, while Casey McKean and Brian Vergenz combined for 11 kills in 15 attempts and had no errors for the match.

“I challenged the guys to come out with the same intensity and level of play that they did last week,” White said. “They more than met the challenge.”

Middleton then toppled 12th-ranked Wauwatosa East, 32-30, 25-18. Robson finished with 15 digs and Andrew Lepage had 18 assists. Eagan Peters-Michaud and Brian Vergenz combined for 14 kills, and the Cardinals had a season-high 12 blocks.

“(Wauwatosa) has solid players at all positions and I still cannot figure out how they aren't beating more teams,” White said. “To say set one was a back and forth affair is an understatement.

“Both teams fought off multiple set points and I was really pleased to see the guys gut out a win. This was easily our best blocking match of the year.”

Middleton followed that with a 25-14, 25-15 win over Shorewood. Peters-Michaud had six kills in the one set he played, while Carson Blair and Owen Engling each had four kills. Matt Ballweg added 12 assists.

“We were able to rest some of our starters,” White said.

In the semifinals, Middleton edged a solid Waukesha West team, 25-12, 19-25, 20-18.

After rolling in the first set, the Cardinals appeared to be in control. But West evened things up in the second set and led the final set, 14-11.

Middleton’s Brady Schmitt stepped in and rolled off three straight service winners, though, to even things, 14-14. West fought off four match points before the Cardinals were able to close the Wolverines out.

Peters-Michaud led Middleton with 13 kills, while Vergenz had nine kills. Avery Krantz had seven kills, Sam Dettman had six kills and Lepage had 30 assists.

“(Waukesha West) could be a force next year as their best players are freshmen or juniors,” White said. “We rolled in set one, but then the wheels fell off in set two.

“What happens to us is when we miss serves, it snowballs. In set two alone we missed seven serves. Our offense was great this match. It was great to see us able to win a match not playing our best all around game.”

Middleton then met Milwaukee Pius — a team it toppled in the championship match at Racine Park — in the finals.

And for the second straight week, the Cardinals toppled the Popes, this time by a 25-15, 25-16 score.

“Maybe we just match up well with Pius or we have their number,” White said. “But for whatever reason, the boys come to play when we play Pius.”

Middleton finished with a 3-to-1 kill-to-error ratio, while Vergenz had six kills and three blocks. McKean had six kills, Krantz had five kills, and Peters-Michaud had three kills and three blocks.

Lepage finished the day with 87 assists and five aces, while Robson had 53 digs. Peters-Michaud had 31 kills and five blocks, Vergenz had 31 kills and nine blocks and Dylan Griffith had four aces.

“We played very well,” White said. “We improved our blocking from one Saturday to the next.

“Brian and Eagan really stepped up, but Avery, Casey and Sam also did quite well and made it very difficult for opponents to focus on one player.”

Middleton also defeated Madison East, 25-5, 25-20, 25-16 last Tuesday. Dettman led the way with 10 kills and nine aces, while Ballweg had 20 assists. Robson added 10 digs and Lepage had 12 assists.

“Good match to have after coming off the win at the Racine Invite,” White said. “We got a lot of different people in and let a lot of younger guys get good experience.”

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