Boys lacrosse team wins state title

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's boys lacrosse team defeated Hartland Arrowhead to win the state title last Saturday./Photo submitted

Middleton’s boys lacrosse team had to overcome two obstacles last Saturday night — powerhouse Hartland Arrowhead and bad weather. But the Cardinals persevered and came away with an impressive 10-8 victory to win the state championship in a game held at Beloit College.

It was the second state title in school history. Middleton also captured the crown in 2003, but the pool of teams was much smaller then.

Middleton’s senior-led team played what coach Matt Bock stated was perhaps their best first half of the season. Middleton started fast and built a 6-1 lead.

“The team had a great mindset coming into the game, were prepped well, and that was reflected in our quick start,” Bock said. “They knew this was a chance to make history for Middleton and clearly embraced it.”

Junior attacker Mitch Bacon started the scoring for Middleton just 37 seconds into the contest after receiving a nice feed from Declan Whinnery. Arrowhead answered shortly thereafter to even the score, 1-1.

Over the course of the first and second periods, Middleton’s aggressiveness dictated play as it swarmed Arrowhead whenever the Warhawks had the ball. 

“We had to set the tone for the game when we came out of the gate,” Bock said. “Arrowhead plays a fast paced tactical game and we had to be aggressive on all fronts. 

“If they were going to have success, they were going to have to work for it. We were able to force them to make mistakes causing turnovers, which allowed us to maintain an offensive possession.”

After a 30-minute delay for lightning, Middleton took control.

Jake Hoskins, Lane Wahlgren, Declan Whinnery, Jake Livesey and Kyle Liegel all scored goals as Middleton raced to a 6-1 lead. Sophomore goalie Tyler Dohmeier, and the defense led by Keegan Mohan (five takeaways), Jacob Wagner, William Braxton, T.J. Jenkins and Justin Sarbacker also had strong first halves.

“I was very pleased with our play on both sides of the ball,” Bock said. “Any time you hold a team such as Arrowhead, which is manned with several all-Americans and all-state players to one goal (in a half) is outstanding.”

Arrowhead came out strong in the third quarter, began chipping into Middleton’s lead, and quickly trimmed the deficit to 8-5.

“They made a bunch of adjustments over halftime and stormed right back,” Bock said. “There’s a reason they made it to this game and that was evident during the third quarter.”

At the six-minute mark of the third, lightning was again spotted in the area. This time, the delay lasted more than an hour and play didn’t resume until 10:40 p.m.

Arrowhead pulled within 8-6 after the delay. But Middleton responded with a huge goal from Bacon and grabbed a 9-6 lead.

The Warhawks refused to fold, though, and fought back within 9-8. But Dohmeier made several huge saves and Middleton senior Liam Turley scored to give the Cardinals a 10-8 lead.

“I talked to Tyler at practice and before the game and told him that they were going to score,” Bock said. “It was inevitable. I told him that he couldn’t let any runs get to him and he just had to maintain his composure. This was Tyler’s best game of the year, and to do it in this venue was impressive.”

Middleton’s postseason run was one for the ages.

The Cardinals defeated 12th-ranked ranked Janesville, No. 4 Appleton, No. 1 Verona and finally third-ranked Arrowhead.

“This is a team that wanted to play against the best competition in the state,” Bock said. “I asked them at the beginning of the year as we were filling our schedule, ‘If we could play one team, who would you want to play?’ And the resounding answer was Arrowhead.

“We’ve always had good games against them, but we were never able to get a win. So (Saturday), we decided we needed to change that.

“We did not back into this title. We knocked down the front door. I am so proud of this team, the work of the coaching staff and all the support we received from our community, the school and our parents.”


Middleton scoring line:

Mitchell Bacon: 2 Goals, 2 Assists

Lane Wahlgren: 1 Goal

Liam Turley: 1 Goal; 4 Groundballs

Declan Whinnery: 2 Goals, 2 Assists; 3 Takeaways;

Kyle Liegel: 1 Goal, 1 Assist

Derek Pettit: 1 Goal

Jake Hoskins: 1 Goal

Jake Livesey: 1 Goal

Keegan Mohan: 5 Takeaways; 4 Groundballs


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