Bay Port volleyball loses tight match to Kimberly
By Rich Palzewic
APPLETON – On Halloween night, the No. 3-seeded Bay Port volleyball team couldn’t ride the momentum from an early-match lead in a four-set loss to Kimberly Oct. 31.
After easily winning the first set 25-17, the Pirates lost the next three (25-18, 25-19, 25-22) in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal at Appleton North High School.
Bay Port, who won its first-ever Fox River Classic Conference title this season, was looking to advance to the sectional finals for the first time in program history.
“The girls did an amazing job, and it was a great season,” said first-year Bay Port head coach Thiago Barbosa. “I couldn’t be more proud of the girls – all of our goals were achieved. They worked so hard – it was a great match, and we played well against Kimberly.”
In a similar fashion to 2017 against No. 2 Kimberly in the sectional semifinals, the Pirates (24-3 overall) came out blazing in the first set to take the lead, only to see the Papermakers (23-12) come back to win three straight on their way to victory.
“We played Kimberly a couple of months ago in a tournament, and we started very slow,” Barbosa said. “We talked about that and said we needed to start faster – we started incredibly strong. We made Kimberly get out of its system.”
In the opening set, Bay Port jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind the strong serving of Raegan McIntyre.
After Alyssa Koska garnered four consecutive points on her serve, the Pirates led 13-6.
Bay Port won the set on a service error by the Papermakers to take the momentum heading into the second set.
Kimberly came out with more energy in jumping out to a 9-3 lead and was never seriously threatened.
In a back-and-forth third set, with the game tied at 17 after a Koska kill, the Papermakers reeled off five consecutive points to go up 22-17 and closed out the set a few points later.
In an exciting fourth set, it was a game of runs early.
The Papermakers took a 4-1 lead, only to see the Pirates score seven of the next eight points behind the serving of Saige Valentine.
The game was tight the rest of the way, with neither team holding more than a two-point lead.
With the set tied at 22, Kimberly scored the last three points for the victory.
“Kimberly knew how to finish the game,” said Barbosa. “The girls never gave up and played every point with high energy.”
The loss ended the careers of seniors Kenzie Nolle, Kyleigh Schuette, Shelby Stelzer, McIntyre, Clement and Kealey Bleser.
Clement (first-team), McIntyre (second-team) and Stelzer (second-team) were the three Pirates to garner all-conference honors.