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Bay Port boys’ soccer wins WIAA regional opener


SUAMICO – The Bay Port boys’ soccer team is moving on in the WIAA D1 postseason, but it wasn’t easy.

Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead in its game with Wausau West Oct. 16, the No. 7-seeded Pirates saw their advantage evaporate before regaining control in a 4-3 win over the No. 10 Warriors in the regional opener at Bay Port High School.

The Pirates (11-7-3), who also beat West 2-1 on Sept. 13 in the regular season, will now play at No. 2 Kimberly (14-5-3) Saturday, Oct. 20, in the regional final.

“We have the players to compete with anyone,” said Bay Port head coach Travis Herber. “Our problem all year has been we find ways to make mistakes that other teams capitalize on, which puts us in these situations. I’m very proud of the guys for fighting back and persevering. I commend my kids for not panicking. It was similar to the De Pere game last week where we jumped ahead early and had to come back in the second half.”

In the win over West, the Pirates got a pair of first-half goals from sophomore Brock Freeman (11th minute) and junior Justin Howe (34th minute), only to watch the visitors score three unanswered times to jump ahead 3-2 halfway through the second half.

Freeman (83rd minute) and Howe (86th minute) each tallied again in the second half to give Bay Port the hard-fought victory.

Howe was given credit for the final goal of the game with under 4 minutes remaining after the ball was popped into the net by a Wausau player.

After the Pirates led 2-0, the Warriors (7-5-6) pulled to within one a few minutes after the first Howe goal, although it appeared that a Wausau player was well offside before connecting on the score.

“That was pretty much a legitimate offside on that play,” added Herber. “It wasn’t called, but I’m glad we won this regional opener. As far as Kimberly goes, they are a well-coached team that plays tough. Kimberly, Appleton North and Green Bay Preble always seem to be my nemesis. We will have to play mistake free and hope to capitalize on a few of their mistakes. We went toe-to-toe with Preble, who is the No. 1 seed, and Kimberly is No. 2. They also lost to Sheboygan North as we did.”

The Pirates battled Preble to a 1-1 tie Sept. 27 and lost to Sheboygan North 6-4 two weeks later. Kimberly lost a 2-1 game to North in late September.

Box score

Wausau West: 1, 2 – 3
Bay Port: 2, 2 – 4

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