Unfinished business for Bay Port as it returns to state tournament

Bay Port and Erika Hess are two wins away from winning the first gold ball in program history. (WLUK)

WAUSAU (WLUK) -- For the first time in program history the Bay Port girls soccer team has qualified for the state tournament in back to back seasons.

The Pirates, who beat Eau Claire Memorial in a sectional final Saturday, placed second a year ago in Division 1 and they think experience will help them as they chase the program's first state title.

"Think the experience is going to be hugely advantageous," coach Brooke Mraz said. "Last year we were sort of the underdog and this year the majority of this team has been in these games so moving forward I think it's going to really help us to be mentally prepared and composed to be ready to go out there."

No. 2-seeded Bay Port (22-1) plays No. 3 Kettle Moraine (10-2-5) on Thursday night at Uihlein Soccer Park in a state soccer semifinal. The winner plays the winner of No. 1 Sheboygan North (21-1-1) vs. No. 4 Muskego (13-3-2) on Saturday in the title game.

State soccer schedule

Last year, Bay Port surprised itself a little by reaching the state title game. After losing in the championship match the Pirates are returning with the mindset of winning one more game than last year.

"It is unfinished business," Mraz said. "Last year we were thrilled to get the silver ball against a phenomenal Brookfield Central team. This year, our team, we've come a long way and we're due."

Bay Port leading goal scorer Erika Hess had a hat trick in the sectional final and is also thinking gold.

"We're hoping to get a gold ball instead and I now that we're going to put in our all and hopefully we'll get it this year," she said.

Defender Grace Krause is confident the Pirates will come through and says one the strengths of the team is the depth.

"I'm very confident in our team" she said. "Our dynamic goes beyond into the bench too. We're able to sub in a lot of people and with the dynamic it's going to help us a lot."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay