By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – It looks like the Bay Port volleyball team’s goal of winning a Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) title will have to wait another year.
Behind a dominating performance from Manitowoc Lincoln’s Madison York, the Pirates couldn’t keep pace in a 25-9, 25-23, 25-22 loss on Oct. 11 at Bay Port High School.
Both teams came into the FRCC match with identical 7-0 records in conference play.
“York was money,” first-year Bay Port coach Jeremy Weis said. “If you put a ball up for her, she can hit off her hand, find the seam, hit outside blocks and over blocks — she has all the tools. Because she’s a junior, we have another year of seeing her.”
The Pirates (12-8 overall, 7-1 FRCC) fell behind early in Set 1 and couldn’t recover.
Leading 14-9, the Ships (31-8, 8-0) ended the set by scoring 11 straight points.
In Set 2, Bay Port grabbed a 7-3 lead, prompting a Manitowoc timeout.
After Josie Hoffman slammed home a kill to make it 15-11, the Ships fought back to take a 19-17 lead.
Behind the serving of Kyla Hendricks, the Pirates surged back ahead, 22-19.
From there, Manitowoc scored six of the last seven points to take the second set.
It looked like the Ships were going to run Bay Port out of the gym in Set 3 — taking a 10-2 lead.
But the Pirates battled back behind the strong serving of Hendricks again.
Trailing 11-6, Hendricks put Bay Port ahead, 12-11, with her mix of serves.
Tied at 16-16, Manitowoc surged ahead 19-16 and maintained at least a two-point lead the rest of the way.
So far this season, the Ships, ranked No. 6 in the latest Division 1 state poll, haven’t lost an FRCC set — sweeping each of their eight opponents.
Weis said despite the three-set defeat, he was proud of how his team came back.
“You saw how we started the match and how we came back in Set 2,” he said. “Losing (the second set) the way we did was tough. It was hard to come back in Set 3. I called a timeout when we fell behind 5-0, so I was happy with how we responded after that.”
With both student bodies showing up, Weis said it was a fun match to be a part of.
“At the end of the day — I told the kids this — these are the moments we wanted to put the girls into,” he said. “We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but to have the girls experience an atmosphere like this was huge. Both student sections were great.”
The Pirates earned the No. 4 seed in their upcoming WIAA Division 1 sectional and will host No. 13 Ashwaubenon on Oct. 20.
With an opening-round victory, Bay Port would host a regional final match on Oct. 22.
“I think a No. 4 seed is fair,” Weis said. “(Green Bay) Southwest beat us early in the season (at a tournament), so they deserved the No. 3 seed. Appleton North and Kimberly are the top seeds. Because Bay Port (High School) hosts the sectional semifinals (Oct. 27), we have the opportunity to host the first three rounds. I hope our crowd shows up again.”
The sectional final is Oct. 29, at Green Bay Preble.
By Rich Palzewic