WIAA state boys volleyball preview: Middleton heads to Wisconsin Lutheran College with No. 3 seeding
What: The 55th annual WIAA state boys volleyball tournament.
When: Friday and Saturday.
Where: Wisconsin Lutheran College, 8800 W. Bluemound Road, Milwaukee.
Tickets, parking: Tickets will be available at the gate for $8 per session ($1 for children age 6 and younger). Parking will be available at nearby lots.
On the Web: All matches will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a subscription basis. Live statistical updates, pairings, history available at www.wiaawi.org/Sports/BoysVolleyball.aspx
No. 1-seeded Germantown (42-3) vs. Franklin (19-14), 12:30 p.m.
No. 4 Milwaukee Marquette (28-8) vs. Waukesha Catholic Memorial (17-7), 3 p.m.
No. 2 Kimberly (33-2) vs. Brookfield East (18-12), 5:30 p.m.
No. 3 Middleton (35-5) vs. Kenosha Indian Trail (34-3), 8 p.m.
Friday afternoon winners meet, 10 a.m.
Friday evening winners meet, 12:30 p.m.
Semifinal winners meet, 6 p.m.
Players to watch
Bryce Behrendt, 6-5, sr., OH, Germantown: A first-team all-state pick last year, Behrendt has continued to impress this season. He leads the top-seeded Warhawks’ triple-threat front line with 292 kills and also has 141 digs and 40 blocks.
Dylan Griffith, sr., DS, Middleton: A key to the Cardinals’ dominant defense, Griffith has 348 digs, second-best in the tournament field.
Nathan Klimisch, 6-5, jr., RH, Kenosha Indian Trail: Has delivered 385 kills and 144 digs for the Hawks.
David Kopriva, sr., Milwaukee Marquette: Helped the Hilltoppers win the state championship last fall.
Eagan Peters-Michaud, 6-0, sr., OH, Middleton: Leads the Cardinals with 354 kills on a .253 attack percentage (Parker Van Buren is second with 313), and has 167 digs and 35 blocks.
Chase Robinson, 6-0, sr., S, Kimberly: Has totaled 941 assists for the Papermakers.
Luigi Saraspe, 6-1, sr., OH, Franklin: Leads the Sabers with 388 kills (best in the tournament field) and 138 digs.
Carter Schmidt, 6-3, sr., OH, Germantown: Has racked up 266 kills and 48 blocks for the Warhawks. Only senior Bryce Behrendt has more kills (292).
Middleton (35-5) qualified for state for the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time overall, but coach Ben White’s Cardinals have won only two quarterfinal matches at state (2007 and 2008). This year, the Cardinals are ranked third by state coaches and seeded third in their field — their highest placement since the WIAA began to seed the top four teams in the field. Middleton takes a seven-match winning streak to state, including a five-set win over Wales Kettle Moraine in the sectional final. Sophomore setter Matt Ballweg leads with 922 assists and senior Owen Engling has 55 blocks.
Kenosha Indian Trail won the Southeast Conference title and takes a 10-match winning streak to state. Coach Brian Sharkey’s Hawks, the Southeast Conference champs, last lost to Middleton, 2-1, in the Cardinals’ tournament. Junior Nathan Klimisch leads with 385 kills, senior Nick Stachura has 828 assists and junior Carson Skalbeck has 380 digs.
Kimberly claimed the No. 2 seeding in what will be its first state performance, thanks to a five-set sectional victory over 2017 runner-up Kaukauna. Coach Matt Seidl’s Papermakers take a 17-match winning streak to state and have lost only to Germantown and Milwaukee Marquette. Senior setter Chase Robinson has 941 assists and junior outside hitter Landon Krause has 360 kills.
Brookfield East, one of three Greater Metro Conference teams to make the eight-team state field, earned a return to state after falling in a semifinal last year. Coach Andy Nosbusch’s Spartans have lost 12 matches — 11 of them to other state qualifiers. Senior outside hitter Anthony Hyndiuk has earned 262 kills and junior setter Ryan Reilly has 669 assists.
Germantown earned the No. 1 seeding after beating Milwaukee Marquette on its way to the Greater Metro Conference title. Coach Brian Rushmer’s Warhawks take a 16-match winning streak to state and are led by Bryce Behrendt (292 kills) and Hans Stellpflug (1,033 assists).
Franklin, making its second state trip and first since 2010, finished second to Indian Trail in the Southeast Conference. Coach Chris Dibb’s Sabres have gotten 634 assists from senior setter Jason Misslich.
Defending champion Milwaukee Marquette is in the state field for the 17th consecutive year and is seeking its ninth state title. Coach Eric Sullivan’s Hilltoppers have six players with 100 or more kills, and senior setter Charlie Brockman has 700 assists.
Waukesha Catholic Memorial beat Mukwonago to earn its 13th state berth, and first since winning its third title in 2016. Coach Brad Mikulice’s Crusaders are led by senior outside hitter Evan Solomon (266 kills) and senior setter Ryan Peschl (665 assists).