Bay Port edges Notre Dame in volleyball thriller
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – If you didn’t attend or watch this Sept. 28 volleyball game, you missed a dandy.
Bay Port ran out to a two-set lead only to see Notre Dame Academy storm back and capture the next two sets.
With the score deadlocked 13-13 in the final set, the Pirates captured the final two points to defeat the Tritons (27-25, 27-25, 24-26, 20-25, 15-13) in a Fox River Classic Conference game at Notre Dame Academy.
“We got our entire unit back for this game,” Bay Port Head Coach Kris Pulka-Schuh said. “The girls accepted their roles tonight. We looked at their defense on film, and there were areas we tried to exploit. On the offensive end, we made a service change, and it paid off. Our middles were unreal. They brought it – it was a big goal for us to beat this team.”
Notre Dame took an early 14-9 lead in set one.
However, Bay Port clawed its way back to the tie the set 20-20.
Minutes later, Ellie McDermid came up with a huge block to save a set point for the Pirates.
Down the stretch, with Bay Port leading 26-25, Izzy Grace bombed a service ace to lift the visitors to the first set.
“When you have sets this tight, you have to believe you are the team who will get it done,” Pulka-Schuh said. “Recently, we’ve had the mindset we can get this done.”
The second set mirrored the first in going beyond the 25-point threshold.
Bay Port took leads of 6-3, 12-7 and 17-13 before the Tritons mounted a late charge.
Hannah Greisen and Danielle Dow put down kills as Notre Dame took a 23-22 lead, only to see the Pirates capture five of the final seven points to go up two sets.
Bay Port appeared to be on the verge of winning in straight sets after corralling a 20-18 lead late in the third set, but the Tritons used three unforced errors down the stretch by the Pirates to capture the middle set, 26-24.
Notre Dame used the momentum it had to grab an 11-7 lead in set four behind an ace by Kailey Whitehouse and a kill by Jacqueline Zacharias.
Down the stretch, the Tritons had too much firepower to force a fifth set.
With both fan bases on edge and the atmosphere electric, the Pirates jumped out to a 6-2 lead.
Notre Dame remained resilient, bringing the score to 12-12.
Ella Engles then came up with the first of two huge blocks for Bay Port to give them a one-point advantage.
After each team exchanged points, the Pirates held a 14-13 lead.
The final block of the evening was the biggest, as McDermid used her long frame to push back one last attempt at a Tritons’ kill, and Bay Port captured the match.
“(McDermid) has come a long way in one year,” Pulka-Schuh said. “We work with her not to be in the net and stay focused throughout the match. We tell her to go up and go after the ball aggressively. She made the final play to get us a big victory. The girls set some goals at the beginning of the season. They’re starting to see some of them come true. You can’t take anybody for granted in this conference. There are lots of teams who are clumped together. We want to be the team which comes out and competes for a conference championship.”