Bay Port’s Anna Gulan (18) battles for a ball against West De Pere April 12. The Pirates’ won the non-conference game, 4-1.
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Bay Port girls’ soccer player Erika Hess picked right up where she left off a season ago.
Hess’ hat trick helped the Pirates post a 4-1 opening-season win over the West De Pere Phantoms in a non-conference game April 12 at Bay Port High School.
“Erika is a difference maker,” said head coach Brooke Mraz of her senior captain. “We have told her to take players on one-versus-one. She is probably one of the most unselfish players I have ever coached, but she is one of the toughest, quickest players we have. Her footwork is phenomenal. We’re very happy with her start.”
Hess was a first-team all-conference player in the Fox River Classic Conference in 2017 after she ended the season with 24 goals and 5 assists.
With the cold and snow of the recent weeks, it was Bay Port’s first game of the season after the first four were cancelled/postponed. With another round of winter weather coming soon, who knows when the team will get back out on the field. The Pirates are supposed to host conference rival Notre Dame Tuesday, April 17, but that game could be in doubt.
“We practiced outside three times before this game, so it felt good to be in open space,” Mraz said. “We’ve been pretty cramped inside the gym.”
Hess got her first goal of the night in the seventh minute of the game for the only score of the opening half.
After sophomore Emma Nagel gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead three minutes into the second half, Hess scored off a header seven minutes later, before capping off her big night with a blast from 25 yards out with 19 minutes remaining.
“For our first night out, the girls played well,” added Mraz. “They played the formation and we made some adjustments at halftime. They performed really well in the second half. Our team’s ability to move the ball fluidly and spread the field was the key in the second half. I’m happy with how we played, but we told the girls that we can be better.”
West De Pere’s Angie Cortes broke the shutout when she scored on a penalty kick with 12:31 left in the contest after she was fouled inside the box.