The Bay Port girls’ soccer team is one win away from a WIAA D1 state championship (Rich Palzewic photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
MILWAUKEE – One game is all that separates the Bay Port girls’ soccer team from a WIAA D1 state championship.
Sophomore Emma Nagel scored both goals in the Pirates’ 2-1 overtime win over Kettle Moraine June 14 at the Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.
It will be Bay Port’s second straight trip to the title game. A year ago they lost a 3-0 contest to Brookfield Central.
Saturday’s 1:30 game will be an all Fox River Classic Conference state championship, as FRCC rival Sheboygan North – who gave the Pirates (23-1-0) their only loss of the season – beat Muskego 3-0 in the other semifinal to set up the rematch.
“Fight, grit and determination … that’s why we are moving on,” said Bay Port head coach Brooke Mraz, whose team won its 16th straight game. “Kettle Moraine is a physical team and we had to earn this one. We knew it was going to be a battle. Overall, I think we controlled the majority of the game … especially in the second half. I’m extremely proud of our effort.”
Tied at one heading into overtime, Bay Port’s Erika Hess was fouled in the box during the 94th minute. Nagel buried the ensuing penalty kick (PK) but it didn’t come without some drama beforehand.
As the ball was set by the official and Nagel was preparing for the PK, Kettle Moraine goalie Emma Warzyniak came out towards Nagel and began conversing with her … this resulted in a yellow card for the junior goalie, so the Lasers were forced to bring in their back-up keeper for the PK.
In high-school soccer if a player receives a yellow card they must be substituted out until the next dead ball.
“Typically speaking we have a rule that if you are the one who is fouled in the box, you don’t take the penalty kick,” Mraz said. “Your adrenaline is too high, so that’s why Nagel took it instead of Hess. In sports we all have those moments where we get emotional. Warzyniak is a great kid and goalie … she came up after the game and was very congratulatory.”
Bay Port trailed 1-0 heading into the 65th minute before Nagel took a McKenzie Johnson quick touch in the box off the rebound to knot the game at one. Nagel – who now has 26 goals on the season – wasn’t able to use her foot for the shot, but bumped it in off her chest standing near the goal line.
Kettle Moraine scored on its only shot of the first half in the 21st minute to take a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates outshout the Lasers (10-3-5) by an impressive 22-5 margin, including 13 shots on goal compared to Kettle Moraine’s 1. Bay Port also had a 13-4 advantage in corner kicks.
“There was no doubt for me,” said Abel, who is a first-team all-conference player from her defense position. “I knew my teammates had my back and I had their back. I knew we would get up together and get it back. Our team fights with their heart.”
North (21-1-1) won the FRCC title and comes into the championship game having allowed just eight goals all year, beating the Pirates 1-0 earlier in the season.
Bay Port is a team who plays on turf and likes the bigger field, but the Golden Raiders play on a smaller field and natural grass – something that may have affected the outcome in the regular season.
“In an ideal world, I think this is the matchup that people wanted to see,” Mraz added. “Sheboygan North is one heck of a team … there was a one-goal separation with them that cost us a conference championship and a No. 1 seed here at the state tournament. We get the opportunity to get another chance at them – it just happens to be for the state championship … it’s crazy.”
The Pirates will be aiming to win the school’s fourth team state championship and first in soccer. Bay Port won back-to-back state baseball titles in 2009-10, while the boys’ track and field team won a title in 2015.