Boys spikers survive brutal week

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Rob Reischel
John Kruchten (left) and Middleton’s boys volleyball team split four matches last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Two weeks into his tenure as Middleton’s boys volleyball coach, it’s become apparent Rob Kleinschmidt will schedule the best competition he can find.

Kleinschmidt did just that last week, and Middleton enjoyed a thrilling few days — splitting four matches against a bevy of state powers.

On March 8, Fond du Lac defeated Middleton, 25-19, 18-25, 26-24. The Cardinals bounced back, though, later that night and toppled Kaukauna, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21.

The Cardinals also downed Madison Edgewood, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20, on March 11. Kimberly, the defending state champion, then edged Middleton, 20-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13, on March 13.

In Middleton’s loss to Fond du Lac, Cole Sweitzer had 10 kills and DJ McCall added nine kills and three blocks. Nick Stott had 37 assists and Jackson Pertzborn added four digs.

Middleton led Fond du Lac, 24-21, in the third and deciding set. Fond du Lac closed the match with five straight points, though, to prevail.

“It wasn't fun to have that game slip away, but it definitely motivated us to get back into practice where we worked hard to keep getting better from what we learned,” Kleinschmidt said. 

The Cardinals rebounded nicely, though, and toppled Kaukauna in their next match that night. Sweitzer had 10 kills, while Ruben Emmerich added seven kills and five blocks. Stott had 19 assists and Colton Tubbs added five digs.

“(That) was a good night of volleyball for us,” Kleinschmidt said. “The opponents were both high-quality, and each team ended up winning one match and losing one match (Kaukana later defeated Fond du Lac).

“Cole Sweitzer had a good offensive day, with DJ picking up a big offensive and blocking load in the Fondy match and Ruben coming up big in the Kaukauna match. Nick Stott keeps getting more comfortable in the offensive schemes we are putting together and getting our hitters good looks at the ball. 

“Our passers also had the best night of the season so far in serve receive. The night left us looking forward to more good stuff as the season moves along.”

In the Cardinals’ win over Edgewood, Sweitzer had seven kills, while Jacob Andler added six kills. Nick Ulfig had 16 assists and Brody Stuttgen added 13.

McCall had four aces, Emmerich had 3.5 blocks and Tubbs added five digs.

“The boys have really been committed to improving in practice and some of those areas really showed in our match,” Kleinschmidt said. “Our blocking and service pressure was the best of the season to date, and we ran an extremely balanced offensive attack. Our senior setter (Nick Stott) was gone for the night so Nick Ulfig and Brody Stuttgen did a great job of stepping up and running our offense effectively.”

The Cardinals then had a terrific match against Kimberly where they fell just short.

Sweitzer had 10 kills, while Emmerich had eight kills, four blocks and two aces. McCall also had eight kills and two aces, while Stott added 32 assists.

“Saturday was a great match,” Kleinschmidt said. “Both teams traded big swings and exciting points in our five-set thriller. 

“Kimberly is the defending state champion and considered by most to be the top team again this spring. We played well against them. We keep playing better all the time and this match held true to that trend. 

“I will take matches like this for our guys all the time. It was great fun watching them stand toe-to-toe with the best and compete like that.”


March 8

Fond du Lac 2, Middleton 1

Fond du Lac ………. 25  18  26

Middleton ………… 19  25  24

MIDDLETON (leaders) — Kills: Sweitzer 10. Assists: Stott 37. Blocks: McCall 3. Digs: Pertzborn 4.


March 8

Middleton 2, Kaukauna 1

Kaukauna …………… 22  25  21

Middleton ………….. 25  21  25

MIDDLETON (leaders) — Kills: Sweitzer 10. Assists: Stott 19. Blocks: Emmerich 5. Digs: Tubbs 5.


March 11


Madison Edgewood …………… 15 14 20     

Middleton ……………………….. 25 25 25     

MADISON EDGEWOOD(leaders) — Kills: Thompson 5. Assists: Hallick 15. Blocks: Thompson 1. Aces: Hallick 3. Digs: Wheeler 3. 

MIDDLETON — Kills: Sweitzer 7, Emmerich 4. Assists: Ulfig 16. Blocks: Emmerich 3.5. Aces: McCall 4, Sweitzer 2, Ulfig 2.



March 13


Middleton …………… 25 11 25 17 13     

Kimberly ………………..20 25 20 25 15     

MIDDLETON (leaders) — Kills: Sweitzer 9; McCall 8, Emmerich 7. Assists: Stott 29. Blocks: Emmerich 4; Stott 2. Aces: Emmerich 2; McCall 2. Digs: Sweitzer 3; McCall 3.

KIMBERLY — Kills: Karpinski 18; Polczinski 14; Hussey 7. Assists: Hussey 51. Aces: Polczinski 3.


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