The Bay Port girls’ soccer team was all smiles after it defeated Notre Dame 5-4 May 24 (Rich Palzewic photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – It was a battle of two of the best girls’ soccer teams in the state and they didn’t disappoint.
On a warm and muggy May 24 night, No. 1 ranked Bay Port (D1) came back from deficits on two occasions to post an exciting 5-4 Fox River Classic Conference victory over No. 3 ranked Green Bay Notre Dame (D3) at Bay Port High School in front of a large senior-night crowd.
The Pirates trailed 2-0 and again at 3-2. Bay Port scored three goals in a 3:30 span in the second half to erase the second deficit and take a 5-3 lead.
“That was just a great high-school soccer game,” said Bay Port head coach Brooke Mraz. “You saw two very high-powered offensive teams. A win like this proves again that we can come back. Ideally it’s not what you want to have happen, but it gives us confidence knowing that we can do it. I didn’t quite expect such a high-scoring game, but knowing how explosive each team can be, it doesn’t surprise me, either.”
Ironically, neither the Pirates (18-1 overall, 8-1 FRCC) nor the Tritons (11-5-1, 7-2) won the FRCC title … that belongs to No. 3 ranked Sheboygan North (D1) who beat both squads by a single goal in earlier-season games.
Things didn’t start off well for Bay Port after Notre Dame’s Jenna Cuene scored just two minutes into the game. The Tritons would add to their lead halfway through the half on a Grace Shaw tally to make it 2-0.
That’s when the Pirates mounted their comeback.
McKenzie Johnson blasted a shot a few minutes later to make it 2-1, before Erika Hess scored her 30th goal of the season (29th minute) to tie the contest heading into intermission.
“Even when we were down 2-0, I was still confident,” Mraz said. “We trailed De Pere 1-0 at halftime before beating them 3-1. I knew that we’d score some goals. We had some good scoring opportunities early on, but just didn’t capitalize.”
The Tritons went ahead 3-2 on a Trudy Quidzinski goal (62nd minute), before Emma Nagel scored on back-to-back shots later in the half – the second on a free kick from just outside the penalty box.
Anna Gulan ended the scoring for Bay Port with 13 minutes remaining.
According to Mraz and assistant coach Mike Bootz, four of the best offensive players in the state were all on the field in this game – Hess, Nagel, Shaw and Quidzinski. The foursome has combined for 86 goals this season.
Before the game, the 10 seniors – Alexis Brunette, Sofia Draghicchio, Gulan, Hess, Cora Klemme, Ariel Kuchta, Autumn Lakari, Gabby Noack, Erin Ross and Greta Urban – were honored in a ceremony.
“When these seniors were freshmen we could see that they were going to be special, so we brought them up to varsity for this moment,” noted Mraz. “They are not only a very talented group, but are also hard-working and outstanding young ladies … they will be missed next year.”
Bay Port is the No. 1 seed in the upcoming WIAA D1 regional and will host Green Bay East Thursday, May 31, at 7:00. If the Pirates manage to win that game, they’d host the winner of De Pere/Appleton North June 2.
“The postseason is a new season for everyone,” Mraz added. “As much as you want to build momentum and look at what you’ve done to this point, essentially it’s irrelevant because everyone comes to play and win. We need to continue to get better. We need to tighten a few things up, but we are confident that we can play with everyone in our bracket.”
To view the postseason bracket CLICK HERE.