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Nagel’s three goals lift Pirates to sectional final

By Murray Gleffe

SUAMICO – Emma Nagel scored three goals as the No. 2-seeded Bay Port girls’ soccer team defeated  No. 6 Appleton North 4-1 in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game at Bay Port High School June 5. 

The Pirates will play either Appleton East or Kimberly Saturday, June 8, at 1 p.m. in Kaukauna for the right to go the state tournament in Milwaukee.

Bay Port has made two consecutive trips to the Division 1 state championship game.

“We said to lock it in,” said Bay Port head coach Brooke Mraz. “We didn’t want to fall back late with only a one goal lead because we knew how physical Appleton North is. We kept pressing on, and it paid off for us.”

In addition to Nagel’s goals, Grace Krause added one, Mac Johnson had two assists and Megan Nygaard made seven saves in net for Bay Port.

Hannah Baer stopped 19 shots for Appleton North in defeat.

Bay Port’s Cecilia Vanden Heuvel (18) makes a play on the ball in first-half action. She is being defended by three Lightning players. Murray Gleffe Photo

Similar to the regional final, the Pirates (20-2) struck early.

In the 9th minute, Johnson took a pass on the sidelines 35 yards away from the goal and centered a ball that found Nagel perfectly.

Nagel fired the shot past Baer, as the Pirates went up 1-0.

Four minutes later, the Lightning (16-5-2) evened the score at one after Nygaard and a Pirates defender both hesitated on who was going to clear the zone.

Appleton North midfielder Kait Schweitzer made Bay Port pay by knocking the ball into the open net.

Later in the first half, Krause sent a rocket in from 32 yards out that was touched by Baer but had too much velocity on it, as it caromed into the left part of the net to put the Pirates back up 2-1.

“I got a little room in the middle of the field, and just let the shot go,” said Krause. “It felt good when I hit it. The forwards set me up on the play to get me the look from that far out.”

With a one goal lead in hand, Bay Port kept on the attack but couldn’t squeeze an additional goal through for the opening part of the second half. 

In the 58th minute, Appleton North almost evened the contest after Briana Sites sent in a low, curving shot that Nygaard saved after an initial bounce.

With the Pirates clinging to a one-goal lead with 5 minutes left, Nagel took matters into her own hands and scored two goals to end the game.

It was a showcase of her length, ball skills and determination to keep her team playing another day.

“We have to be ready for whoever we play on Saturday,” said Nagel. “We played one of our better games against [Appleton] East, and a game where Kimberly handed us one of our two losses in which we didn’t play well. We’re one step away again from going to state. It’s exciting for all of us. We have to keep our focus the next couple of days in practice.”

Appleton East and Kimberly play in the other sectional final June 6 for the right to play Bay Port.

Box score

Appleton North: 1, 0—1

Bay Port: 2, 2—4

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