Sports

Tue
15
Nov
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Middleton swimmers shine at state

WAUKESHA — Sophie Benson spent four memorable seasons inside Middleton’s girls swimming and diving program.

There were three top-six team finishes at the WIAA Division 1 state meet during traditional seasons. There was a runner-up showing in the very non-traditional 2020-21 COVID year, when the Cardinals moved their season to the spring.

And there were countless laughs, smiles and memories.

So when it came to an end last Saturday — with the Cardinals racing to a fourth place finish at this year’s state meet held inside Waukesha South High School — it was a bittersweet time for Benson and her fellow seniors.

Middleton had given another memorable performance, challenging the state powerhouses for pool supremacy once again. But the finality of it all was also tough for Benson to wrap her head around.

Thu
10
Nov
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MHS swimmers shine at sectionals

Distance events are the bread and butter of the Middleton girls swimming and diving team, so the results of the 200- and 500-yard freestyles at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 sectional meet the Cardinals played host to weren’t all that surprising.

That doesn’t mean they weren’t exciting.

“That was awesome,” said senior Sophie Benson, who took second in both events. “Seeing us go 1-2-3 in the 500 and 1-2-3-4 in the 200 was an amazing feeling.

“Regardless of the time, just seeing our girls rally together and get those points for us — it’s unexplainable standing on that podium with your teammates by your side.”

Thanks in large part to those two events — Middleton scored 121 of its 406 points in them — the Cardinals were also standing together atop the podium when the meet ended.

Thu
10
Nov
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Eight soccer Cards named all-Big 8

Middleton’s boys soccer team had a memorable season.

The Cardinals won the Big Eight Conference for the first time in 10 years.

They lost just one game to a team from Wisconsin.

And they came within one match of reaching the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

So, it was no surprise that Middleton had eight players named to the all-Big Eight Conference team.

Senior defender Daniel Kim, senior forward Dom Campos and sophomore defender Josh Lee all earned first-team all-conference honors.

Junior midfielder Cal Avery received second-team all-conference honors. And sophomore forward Tony Murphy, sophomore midfielder Arien Van Mol, senior defender Taatjes Belgiano and junior keeper Michael Fussell all received honorable-mention all-conference honors.

Middleton’s Kevin Pauls was also named the Big Eight’s Coach of the Year.

Fri
04
Nov
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Boys spikers fall to CMH in thriller

GREEN BAY — Their season had been over 15 minutes, or so.

Middleton’s boys volleyball team had given a valiant effort before Waukesha Catholic Memorial eventually toppled the Cardinals, 25-21, 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, in a WIAA state quarterfinal on Nov. 3 at the Resch Center.

And while Middleton was distraught that it wouldn't play another match in 2022, it was even more upset that things like practices and team dinners had come to an end.

Over the past 10 weeks, this group had grown remarkably close. And the fact the daily camaraderie was ending hurt even more than the loss to the mighty Crusaders.

“I’ll remember all the shenanigans we pulled, all the funny moments,” Middleton junior outside hitter Ambrose Engling said. “After we lost that game, I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh shoot, I’m not going to be able to play another volleyball match tomorrow. I was thinking, ‘Oh shoot. I’m not going to be able to see these guys in practice every day.’ ”

Fri
04
Nov
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Girls spikers toppled by DSHA

GREEN BAY — The four pillars of Middleton’s volleyball program since 2019 sat at a media table inside the Resch Center last Thursday.

And as Middleton head coach Maddie Vogel talked about that group — and her Cardinals — tears started flowing from every angle.

It wasn’t so much that Middleton had just dropped a 25-9, 25-13, 25-18 decision to Divine Savior Holy Angels in the WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinals. It was the fact Vogel — who was flanked by senior stars Jordan LaScala, Evin Jordee and Sierra Pertzborn — had just seen their time together come to an end.

“I’ve known these girls since they were freshmen and it’s been a really cool experience,” Vogel said. “I think they all learned a lot about each other and learned a lot about volleyball. I hope they feel as strongly as I do about the connection that this team has made this year and it’s going to be really hard to see them go.”

Thu
03
Nov
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Middleton spikers headed to state

MONONA — The match had been over for roughly 15 minutes.

Middleton’s girls volleyball team had defeated Waunakee in a WIAA Division 1 sectional final last Saturday evening. And the Cardinals had earned a trip to state for the first time since 2009.

As the mayhem around Jordan LaScala unfolded, Middleton’s gifted and verbose senior outside  hitter reflected for a moment. Then she summed things up perfectly.

“Looking back on everything we’ve been through together, all the ups and downs, today was the moment,” LaScala said. “We reached the summit.”

They sure did.

Second-seeded Middleton played with poise and precision, overcame some second set foibles and knocked off the top-seeded Warriors, 25-20, 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, in a match played at Monona Grove High School.

Thu
03
Nov
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Waunakee ends Middleton's season

WAUNAKEE — At halftime of last Friday night's WIAA Division 1 second round playoff game, Middleton was being shut out and trailed Waunakee by a touchdown.

Late in the third quarter, the deficit was 11.

And yet, the Cardinals didn't flinch.

Junior quarterback Gabe Passini's 22-yard touchdown run followed by a successful 2-point conversion made it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter. Senior Owen Halverson's 23-yard field with 5 minutes, 18 seconds remaining tied it and junior Thomas D'Onofrio intercepted a double-reverse pass on the ensuing possession.

The Cardinals had all the momentum.

They just couldn't quite finish the comeback.

Thu
03
Nov
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Malloy-Salgado shines at state

Three years ago, after Zaira Malloy-Salgado finished her first WIAA Division 1 state cross country meet, she had one singular thought.

“I remember when I was a freshman my goal was to get on the podium at some point,” Middleton’s senior standout said.

So as Malloy-Salgado exited Rapids Golf Course — home of the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids — last Saturday afternoon, she looked back with great pride.

Malloy-Salgado had just raced to a fifth-place finish at this year’s state meet, completing the demanding 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 50.5 seconds. Sara Mlodik of D.C. Everest won the race in 18:06.6.

Malloy-Salgado’s strong performance helped the Cardinals finish sixth as a team. That, combined with a fifth place finish in 2021 and a third place showing in the 2020 alternate season gave Malloy-Salgado a trio of podium finishes — and an enormous amount of pride.

Thu
03
Nov
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Boys cross country team sixth at state

They were an afterthought when the season began.

They had to replace two of their top three runners from a year ago.

And they had to survive one of the state’s toughest conferences — and sectionals.

So, when Middleton’s boys cross country team left the WIAA Division 1 state cross country meet with a sixth place finish last Saturday, Cardinals coach Brian Finnel and his team were all smiles.

Stevens Point won the meet — held at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids — with a miniscule 39 points. Oconomowoc (86) and Madison West (128) rounded out the top three.

Middleton, which was making a remarkable 10th straight appearance at state, was sixth out of 20 teams with 214 points.

Thu
03
Nov
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Boys spikers headed back to state

Don’t count members of the Middleton boys volleyball team among those surprised by the way things went in the third set of Saturday night’s WIAA sectional championship match against Madison Memorial.

Frustrated maybe, but not surprised.

The top-seeded Cardinals knew a sweep of the second-seeded Spartans wouldn’t be easy — even after winning the first two sets rather handily.

“Their season’s on the line,” Cardinals senior middle hitter Joe Ilk said. “They’re going to fight with everything they have.”

The Spartans did just that. But all their third-set victory ended up doing was delay the Cardinals’ party as Middleton bounced back in a big way, winning 25-14, 25-14, 20-25, 25-13 to advance to the state tournament for the 13th time overall after being upset in this round a year ago as the top seed.

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