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Volleyball Season Ends for Pirates

BY RICH PALZEWIC
CORRESPONDENT


ASHWAUBENON – The tears told the story…their season was done.

The Bay Port volleyball team couldn’t maintain its early momentum in dropping a 25-23, 16-25, 22-25, 20-25, match to No. 1 seeded Kimberly on Oct. 26 at Ashwaubenon High School in a WIAA D1 sectional game. The Pirates end the season with an overall record of 24-14.

“We came out with a lot of energy and battled,” said Bay Port head coach Brendan Baier. “We knew Kimberly was a good team, but I’m really proud of how we responded and stuck with it. I thought we showed a lot of mental toughness and didn’t back down from them at all.”

The Pirates came out on fire early in jumping out to a 21-14 lead in set one. After a Kimberly timeout, the Papermakers went on a 9-3 run to come within one at 24-23, but an Olivia Schaut kill ended things in Bay Port’s favor.

“That first set was as close to as well as we have played all year,” Baier said. “We’ve been playing really good volleyball, especially the last week leading into this game. Even before the playoffs, we had certain individuals step their game up.”

After Kimberly cruised in set two behind Louisville recruit Maggie Cartwright, the Pirates’ best chance at another victory was in set three. With the score tied at 21, the Papermakers closed out the game with a 4-1 run to win going away.

In the final set, Bay Port fell behind 18-13, but got to within two at 21-19 before Kimberly closed things out.

“We just needed to be a little more consistent throughout the match,” said Baier. We had our opportunities, but we allowed them to get too comfortable at times. We had a few untimely errors when we couldn’t have them. We kept fighting and battling and I’m proud of my girls.”

If you look back on one of the most successful seasons in Bay Port volleyball history, the team accomplished a lot: a third place finish in the Fox River Classic Conference and a first-ever regional title. The finality of a season is never easy, especially for the five seniors – Erin Ross, Bri Clement, Sara Karas, Maura McGinnity and Mady Schroeder – on this year’s squad that won’t be able to suit up again.

“It’s always hard to say goodbye to your seniors,” added Baier. “Every year our senior group gets better with leadership and I think we saw that with this group especially. We wouldn’t have had the success we did this season without our seniors. It’s hard to see them sad because this is their last high school volleyball match together, but they have a lot to be proud of this year.”

Despite the loss of the seniors, the future looks bright for the Pirates with freshman Alyssa Koska, sophomores Brooke Clement and Shelby Stelzer, and juniors Sidni Walgurski and Schaut all returning next season.

Koska led Bay Port with 10 kills and Karas added eight. McGinnity had 33 assists and three serving aces, while Schroeder and Schaut had 12 and 10 digs respectively.

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