MIDDLETON — Thursday night’s first set wasn’t going the way the Middleton boys volleyball team wanted.
Burlington held a 22-20 lead early in a best-of-five WIAA sectional championship match, prompting Cardinals coach Ben White to call timeout.
After talking things over, the Cardinals reeled off five consecutive points to win the opening set. And they never trailed again en route to a 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 victory and claim their fifth consecutive trip to state.
“Burlington played pretty well. They were up 22-20, and when I called time out, Carson Blair, one of our captains, said, ‘This is our drill,’” White said.
White recalled that in Wednesday’s practice, he had the starting lineup take on the reserves, facing a deficit of — yep — 22-20.
“They had to keep playing until they won. It took five tries,” White said. “But tonight, they scored five points in a row. That was big for our momentum.”
Junior Eagan Peters-Michaud served all five points.
“Our thing was to serve them deep, and he did especially well there, working the part of the court that would get them out of their system,” White said.
Finishing the run was senior Casey McKean, who had three kills and one block kill in the spurt.
Senior Brian Vergenz totaled 13 kills, senior Thomas Robson had 19 digs and senior Andrew Lepage had 37 assists for Middleton (33-6).
The Cardinals are back at state for the 10th time in White’s 17 years as coach.
A seeding meeting this evening will determine which team (and when) Middleton will meet in the Nov. 10 quarterfinal round at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Wauwatosa. The tournament ends Nov. 11.
Middleton 25 25 25
Burlington 22 17 19
Middleton (leaders): Kills (43) — Vergenz 13, McKean 8, Peters-Michaud 8, Dettman 7, Kratz 5. Digs (62) — Robson 19, Lepage 12, Griffith 7. Blocks (5) — Lepage 2, Vergenz 2. Aces (3) — Robson 2. Assists (38) — Lepage 37.