Girls soccer team vaults to No. 1

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Maddie Hummel (22) receives congratulations from McKenzie Zocher (4) and Danielle Martin (6) after scoring a goal last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Mary Duffy has seen it night after night.

Whether it’s indoors or outside, in lousy weather or under sunny skies, Middleton’s girls soccer team has brought an extremely high intensity level each night at practice.

And Duffy — the Cardinals’ head coach — had a terrific feeling about the results that might yield.

“I saw this intensity … and was excited about the prospect of what they could do on the field,” Duffy said of her team.

Indeed, the Cardinals played like they practiced when they kicked off their season last week.

Middleton defeated Oconomowoc, 3-2, in a game played at Madison College last Friday. The Cardinals then routed Hudson, 5-1, last Saturday at Madison College.

The wins helped Middleton jump into the No. 1 spot in the  latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association’s Division 1 poll. 

“When we all stay on the same page with the same goals and knowing the skills, leadership, patience, and determination to get to those end goals, it predicts a quality season,” said Duffy, whose team was ranked 10th in Division 1 in the first Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll of the year.

Middleton fell behind Oconomowoc, 1-0, just 10 minutes into the game. But the Cardinals got the equalizer in the 30th minute when freshman Maddie Hummel scored on a feed from senior midfielder McKenzie Zocher.

“It looked like a knuckle ball in baseball as it spun, dipped and twisted as it traveled towards the net,” Duffy said of Hummel’s goal. “It was Hummel’s first rotation in the game. Not a bad way to start your high school career, and continued to show dominance in the midfield with possession and defense.”

The Raccoons reclaimed a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute. But again, Middleton quickly answered back as Kendall Roquet found Victoria Bunz, who knotted the game, 2-2, in the 68th minute.

“Roquet did this often last year with Bunz usually at the end of the perfect pass,” Duffy said. “Roquet and Bunz had this type of goal assist numerous times last year and the connection is still strong. They both see the game and read the game well, so it is no surprise to see them scoring in this manner.”

Junior midfielder Tyler Wilson then had the game-winner in the 80th minute on a pass from Bunz. Wilson took a feed from Bunz, took three touches around the final defender and scored.

“What we need to remember is that even though we struggled early on, we came back twice to win the game,” Duffy said. “It was not pretty, but it did get the job done. We struggled last year coming back from behind, so it was encouraging to see the team keep their heads and make the needed plays to pull out the win.”

Middleton then broke away from a 1-1 tie against Hudson by scoring four goals in the final 35 minutes.

Wilson had two goals and an assist. Danielle Martin, Caitlynn Owens and Nina Malak all had goals, as well.

“Saturday’s game was a great testament to hard work in practice,” Duffy said.

Martin scored in the ninth minute to give Middleton a 1-0 lead. Hudson then tied things, 1-1, in the 51st minute.

From there, though, it was all Cardinals.

Owens scored off a free kick taken by Emily Raisleger to give Middleton a 2-1 lead. 

Wilson then scored the next two goals to give Middleton a 4-1 advantage. Maeve Gonter assisted on one of the goals, then Wilson dribbled through four defenders and beat the keeper to score a brilliant goal.

Then to wrap up the scoring frenzy, Owens found target forward Malak, who half-turned and quickly shot the ball 30 yards away from the goal. Malak caught the keeper drifting and hit side netting to make it 5-1. 

“Nina has that ability to score anywhere, any time and in the most unexpected ways which makes her very difficult to defend,” Duffy said. “Overall, we looked a lot calmer even as the game started.  

“We moved the ball well from side to side, probing the defense for weak areas, moving it again if shut down on one angle. If I were to count, we would consistently string eight-to-10 passes together keeping dominance on the ball and possession.

“There wasn’t a drop in the play as the game continued. It was on. The team’s defensive shape did an excellent job of adjusting and making changes from Friday’s game. They moved fluently as a group and are becoming more comfortable with rotation and communicating and reading what the other team defender would do. It demonstrated that the intensity of practices must continue to match our game intensity because it will continue to make games seem more effortless.”

• On deck: Middleton will face defending state champion Bay Port Friday at 5 p.m. and meet Appleton North Saturday at 11 a.m. in a tournament at the Woodside Complex in Wisconsin Dells.

 

April 6

Middleton 5, Hudson 1

Hudson ............................. 0 1 — 1

Middleton ......................... 1 4 — 5

First half: M — Danielle Martin (Wilson), 8:56.

Second half: H — Duffee 51:00; M — Caitlynn Owens (Raisleger), 55:00; Tyler Wilson (Goncer), 63:00; Wilson, 66:00; N. Malak (Owens), 87:00. Saves: H (Olson 8, Brtek 6), M (Gehrke-Kallstormer) 9.

 

April 5

Middleton 3, Oconomowoc 2

Oconomowoc ................... 1 1 — 2

Middleton ......................... 1 2 — 3

First half: O, Cleary, 10:00; M, Hummel (Zocher) 30:00. 

Second half: O, Cleary, 55:00; M, Bunz (Roquet), 68:00; Wilson (Bunz), 80:00.

Saves: O 7; M (Gehrke-Kallstormer) 9.

 

 

 

 

 

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