Dealing With a Loss: Bay Port Girls Tennis Preview
By Rich Palzewic, Correspondent
SUAMICO – The Bay Port girls’ tennis team was dealt a significant blow before they even played a match this season.
Sophomore twins Gabrielle and Isabelle Lee decided not to play this season, a decision they said that was already thought about months ago. Isabelle was the Fox River Classic Conference player of the year and finished as WIAA D1 state runner-up with a 34-3 overall record, while Gabrielle made it to the round of 16 at state despite battling a wrist injury most of the year.
“They decided to not play tennis and focus solely on their academics,” said Bay Port head coach Lindsay Matuszewski. “They are very involved in school and have a rigorous schedule both there and online.”
Not having the Lee sisters on the roster is probably the difference between the Pirates winning a FRCC title and making it to the WIAA team state tournament. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities that the two could have faced off in the state title match had things gone to plan.
The Lady Pirates finished fifth last year in the FRCC behind Pulaski, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay Notre Dame and De Pere with a 5-4 conference dual record. They will look to improve on that with the addition of a talented freshman in Devan Perry, whose father Darren is an assistant coach with the Packers. Bay Port hasn’t won a conference title since 2003.
“A lot of our players that are at Devan’s level we like to play at singles or doubles,” Matuszewski said. “Once they are on varsity, we like to interchange them based on who we play. Devan could play at No. 1 singles or doubles.”
Senior veteran Rachel Ceaglske will most likely bounce back and forth between singles and doubles, but played at No. 1 doubles a year ago. According to Matuszewski, she’ll probably be mainly in doubles again this year.
Also expect senior Emily Wick and juniors Cathleen Graber and Karina Verdette to have big years.
Despite the loss of the Lee sisters, don’t count Bay Port out when it comes to having a successful conference season.
“Pulaski won the conference last year and went to state, but they lost some players,” said assistant coach Steve Matuszewski. “I’m sure they will still be a tough team. Notre Dame and Green Bay Southwest are traditionally strong teams as well. I think a realistic goal for us is to finish in the middle to upper half of the FRCC. I still think we have some talent and the kids have gotten better. The freshmen we have look good. I tell people every year, ‘the standard here is we have to win.’ We are going to put our best team out there and see what happens.”
Joy Harley (first-team, No. 4 singles) and Hannah Gustafson (state qualifier in 2015) were the only two seniors lost to graduation.
Other members of the team are seniors Zong Vang, Sidney Kropp, Alexandra Lindner and Jordanne Hanson; juniors Linnea McClintock, Grace Krause, Jill Kenney and Sophie Martell; sophomores Grace Marquardt and Meghan Nysted; and freshmen Abigail Ashley, Brooke Huben, Kristina Forseth, Samara Wartella and Callie Belschner.
Note: for a full schedule, visit foxriverclassicconference.com, click on the Bay Port link and navigate to the girls’ tennis schedule.
Update: the Lady Pirates got some good news in the form of Mexican foreign exchange student Meylna Ramirez, who will spend her senior year at Bay Port. Ramirez went 5-1 in Bay Port’s two-day tournament on August 14-15 playing at No. 1 and 2 singles.