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Bay Port dominates FRCC

By Tori Wittenbrock

Associate Sports Editor

Bay Port’s Aubrey Friendshuh and De Pere’s Zoe Fenlon go up for a header at midfield. The final score of the game was a 4-2 win for Bay Port. Tori Wittenbrock photos

SUAMICO – In an intense clash between the top two teams in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC), the Bay Port Pirates (13-1-2 overall, 7-0 conf.) sank the De Pere Redbirds’ chances of topping the regular season standings with a 4-2 win on Tuesday, May 15. 

Though De Pere came out and set the tone with an early goal, Bay Port was able to overcome the deficit and keep their lead for the remainder of the game. 

“De Pere came out strong in the first five minutes. We knew it was going to be a tough, physical, hard fought game, just because of the history of these two both being successful teams,” said Bay Port Head Coach Brooke Mraz. “Once we settled in and regained our composure, after that first goal we started moving the ball really well and locked it in on defense and just started playing our game not so frantic. I’m pretty proud of our team for coming back from that 0-1 start and just settling in.”

An early shot from De Pere’s Amelia Schuh was saved by Bay Port keeper Maggie Gannon, but set the tone for an intense match. 

Just three minutes into the game, a cross from MaKenna Lofdahl was slotted to Schuh in the box for a goal to give the Redbirds a 1-0 lead. 

Though both teams saw significant offensive pressure, their backlines held strong forcing shots from further out. 

A through ball to Natalie Squire on Bay Port gave the Pirates a chance to even the score but was intercepted by De Pere keeper Jocelyn Blahnik. 

Bay Port’s efforts to tie the game up were realized at the 20 minute mark when Mallory Herber slotted a ball to Sydnie Thompson out wide for a composed poke into the far post. 

Sydney Carr on De Pere found herself in a footrace with Gannon but too much pace on the pass led it straight into Gannon’s hands. 

Bay Port continued to shift the momentum with another quick goal just one minute later after displaying composed possession in the box as the Herber-Thompson duo continued to find success adding another assist and goal to the sheet to make it a 2-1 game. 

Morgan Fitt ripped a left-footed shot for the Pirates that Blahnik was able to get a hand on, keeping both teams on their toes. 

Alaena Zastrow caused trouble in the midfield by forcing Bay Port turnovers in the last ten minutes of the half. 

Joleigh Blahnik sent a big ball into the box for her team that forced Gannon to come off of her line and pluck the ball out of the air in the 32nd minute of play as the score remained 2-1 going into halftime. 

“I’m just happy with the way we are moving the ball right now. I think they are really starting to come into our tactics and understand the tactics in ways that are kind of that next level as we move towards the end of our season and into playoffs, that’s exactly what we want,” said Mraz.  “They are getting some good looks on goal and their communication has been wonderful. Just their growth as a whole. That’s something that, as a coach, anytime you see your team from start to finish show momentum and success, that is what I am most proud of, W’s aside.”

Bay Port’s Lauren Schleusner and De Pere’s Sydney Carr engage in a 50/50 battle.

The Pirates came out strong in the second half collecting their third goal of the night by capitalizing off of some chaos in the penalty box as Morgan Fit forced the ball past Blahnik for the 3-2 lead. 

Herber’s cross for Bay Port in the attack forced an own goal as De Pere hustled back into the box facing their own goal in the 52nd minute. 

Schuh’s continued efforts led to a 50/50 collision in the box with Gannon in an all out effort to shift the momentum for her team as the game neared the 60th minute mark. 

Schuh got what she wanted in creating a spark for the offense with a goal into the far post in the 61st minute. 

A shot by Taylor Jacques with just 12 minutes remaining was slightly off frame landing just high and wide of the net. 

Though the game remained intense until the final whistle, the 4-2 lead would hold as the final score. 

“I think that there’s always room for growth. I think maybe we need to be a little more aggressive with the number of shots on goal in the game and I think we also need to be a little bit better about finishing on our corners, but as a whole I’m very proud of this group,” said Mraz. 

After facing Ashwaubenon on Thursday, May 15, Bay Port will host Sheboygan-North on Tuesday, May 21st, at 7 p.m. while De Pere will host Wisconsin Rapids on Friday, May 17th, at 5 p.m. after traveling to Green Bay Preble on Thursday. 

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