Girls soccer team one step from state

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Adam Hatlan/For the Times-Tribune
Middleton's girls soccer team defeated Sun Prairie Thursday and is now just one win from state./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton girls soccer coach Mary Duffy said prior to Middleton’s WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal against Sun Prairie last Thursday, her team was full of nervousness and excitement.

Second-seeded Middleton — seeking its first trip the sectional finals since 2015 — had to go through third-seeded Sun Prairie to get there. That’s no easy task as Sun Prairie features Alexis Baker, the Player of the Year in the Big Eight Conference.

If the nerves were present for Middleton they didn’t show.

Middleton used a strong defensive performance to stymie Sun Prairie, 2-0. Middleton got goals from Tyler Wilson and Kendall Roquet.

Middleton improved to 12-3-4 for the season, while Sun Prairie finished the year 9-5-4.

Middleton now faces top-seeded Waunakee on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Kettle Moraine. The winner will advance to the state tournament at Uihlein Park in Milwaukee on June 14 with seedings to be determined.   

“Everyone was on the same page tonight. Our bench, to field players, to the goalie ... everyone was very focused,” Duffy said. “We played a complete game tonight. Our girls are really good, and we haven’t put together solid, complete games consistently. I think the biggest thing in tonight’s game is that we were consistent. We wanted to put the 90 minutes to good use.”

Middleton did just that, putting on a show on both sides of the ball.

Defensively, Middleton was able to limit Sun Prairie to seven shot attempts in the game, with just three on goal. Middleton goalie Emelie Gehrke-Kallstromer had all three saves.

Baker finished with three shot attempts and just one on goal. Limiting the top player in the Big Eight was a big win for Middleton.

“Baker is absolutely a goal-scoring machine. We did a really good job at minimizing the effect of her on the game,” Duffy said. “The defense worked really hard on formation and shape, and they were completely dialed in. Between Caitlynn (Owens), (Emily) Raisleger, (Lauren) Hendricks, and Taylor (Rough), I haven’t seen them that tuned-in to each other during a game.”

Middleton junior midfielder Kendall Roquet agreed.

”Baker is a phenomenal player, but we shut her down tonight,” Roquet said.

Middleton finished with 16 shots, nine on goal. Sun Prairie goalkeeper Jillian Buenger had seven saves.

Sun Prairie nearly scored 20 seconds into the game, as Baker slipped behind the defense to receive a pass and had her first opportunity in a breakaway situation, but she shot it wide.

Middleton had a couple golden chances on offense during the first half, putting the heat on the Sun Prairie defense with some solid attacks in front of the net, finishing with seven first half shots.  

Middleton finally broke through late in the first half. Emily Raisleger launched a high-arching ball from near midfield to Wilson, who stood in the center of the goalie box. Wilson was able to control the ball and hammered it into the back of the net to give Middleton a 1-0 lead just 21 seconds before halftime.

Middleton came out of the break energized with a 1-0 lead, pressuring Sun Prairie and limiting Baker offensively, often times guarding her with two or three players.

“We really talked about controlling Baker coming into the game,” Roquet said. “We double-teamed her and didn’t let her have the over-the-top ball.”

Middleton had a one-on-one opportunity around the 70-minute mark after stealing a pass deep in Sun Prairie territory, but the shot went wide of the net.

Middleton scored again at 74:57. Victoria Bunz kicked a perfect cross to Roquet, who hammered it into the goal for a 2-0 lead. Bunz picked up an assist on the play. 

“Victoria had a great run up the sideline, and she had a fantastic cross,” Roquet said. “I really wanted the goal so I just followed it in. It just happened to go in I guess.”

Duffy was pleased with the goal and that Roquet was the one who scored.

“Kendall has been so close so many times scoring a goal. Usually it’s Kendall who sends the assist for Bunz to put in. It was her turn for a goal,” Duffy said. “It was fantastic to see Kendall in the biggest game of the season so far, get one to go in. It was a big moment for sure.”

Middleton now faces Waunakee with the winner receiving a trip to state. Middleton’s last loss came at the hands of the Warriors on May 4, a 2-1 Waunakee win in what Duffy called one of the most fun games of the year.

“When we played Waunakee, that was one of the coolest high school games that I had seen in a while,” Duffy said. “There were moments in that game that were back and forth, and intense, and everyone was in it. It will be super exciting to play them again. It’s going to be a grinding game with two skilled and talented teams.”

Middleton is seeking its fifth state appearance and its first since 2013. The Cardinals’ lone state title came in 2006.

“I’m really excited and happy we won tonight, but I’m ready for the next round,” Roquet said. “We really want to make it to state.”

Duffy knows Middleton has the talent to make it to state, but doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

“This is our opportunity, but we have to take care of our opportunities, and keep taking care of our chances, and building on the small things,” Duffy said. “I think the girls did a fantastic job of that tonight.

“Of course the girls will be nervous. We showed tonight in the first 10 minutes we were nervous. I think we settled and calmed down, and I think it’s going to happen before the (sectional final) for both teams, because it’s big — it’s the game before state. It will definitely be exciting and it’s what they deserve.”


June 6

WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal

Middleton 2, Sun Prairie 0

Sun Prairie ……... 0  0 — 0

Middleton ……….. 1 1 — 2


First half

MID - Wilson (Raisleger) 44:39

Second half

MID - Roquet (Bunz) 74:57

Shots: MID- 16  SP- 9  Shots on goal: MID- 9 SP-3  Saves: MID- 3 SP- 7 Corner kicks: MID- 6 SP- 0 Fouls: MID- 11 SP- 13






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