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Pirates battle Redbirds, Mother Nature, in win

Bay Port’s Emma Nagel keeps the ball away from a De Pere defender in the Pirates’ 3-0 victory June 2 (Rich Palzewic photo). 


SUAMICO – About the only thing that slowed down the Bay Port girls’ soccer team last night was Mother Nature.

Despite a 37-minute second-half-weather delay due to lightning, the Pirates still managed a 3-0 victory over the De Pere Redbirds in the WIAA D1 regional finals at Bay Port High School.

The victory for the No. 1 state ranked Pirates earned them a trip to sectionals, where they will host Appleton West Wednesday, June 6, at 6:30.

“The weather delay was more of a nuisance than anything,” said Bay Port head coach Brooke Mraz, whose team improved to 20-1 this season and has outscored their opponents by an incredible 99 to 14 margin. “I don’t really think it affected us … I was just glad it was a short delay and didn’t linger too long.”

The victory over their FRCC rival on this rainy night was the Pirates 12th shutout of the year.

Emma Nagel put Bay Port up 1-0 (17th minute) after she moved up the middle of the field freely before blasting in her 21st goal of the season.

Erika Hess scored No. 34 on the year (37th minute) with a left-footed boot to the right corner of the net to make it 2-0.

An Anna Gulan shot clanged off the post a minute later as a steady rain began to fall.

The Pirates also had a Sofia Draghicchio free kick from 40 yards out hit the outside post 20 minutes into the second half.

Sixty seconds later, a single bolt of lightning put a stop to play, so both teams went inside to dry off.

With six minutes remaining Gulan got her goal after she deflected Alexis Brunette’s shot from up top into the net to close the scoring.

“A closer game like this prepares us for when we get deeper into the tournament,” Mraz said. “Each game will present more challenges, but I know these girls can play with anyone.”

In a 3-1 victory over the Redbirds May 22, Bay Port was down 1-0 at the break before scoring three second-half goals.

“We knew this game would be one of momentum,” added Mraz. “It was so important to get an early score, but even more importantly, we had much better balance than the first game against them. We played our pressure cover brilliantly, which helped us maintain field position and get some decent looks early on. We got a lot of 50-50 balls.”

The Pirates were supposed to play Appleton West (13-3-2) on April 19, but that game got cancelled due to the major snowstorm the area suffered four days before.

“It should be a good game,” Mraz noted about her team’s game with West. “They are a program who has been growing over the last couple of years. Within the Fox Valley Association conference they have held their own against the likes of Kimberly, Neenah and Appleton East. They are a physical team.”

Notes: If the Pirates advance to the sectional finals vs. the winner of Eau Claire Memorial and Stevens Point, that 3:00 game would be played Saturday, June 9, at Wausau West High School.

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