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Bemidji begins season with 3-0 win at Little Falls

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LITTLE FALLS -- Casey Palmer tossed a shutout and Rachel Bitter scored two goals to power the Bemidji girls soccer team to a season-opening 3-0 victory Friday at Little Falls.

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The Lumberjacks will make their home debut 1 p.m. today when they entertain Wayzata at the middle school pitch.

After a scoreless first half BHS took charge and sparking the effort was Bitter who scored at the 57-minute mark and again 12 minutes later.

"It took us most of the first half to work out the kinks," said Bemidji coach Kelly Schoonover. "It was the first game of the season and we were nervous and anxious. But at the break we settled down, the girls came out ready to go and we played much better."

Annah Schussman set up Bitter for the first goal and, after taking the pass, Bitter dribbled to the 18-yard area and zipped a low shot into the corner.

Bitter was playing as a forward when she notched her first tally but later in the game she moved to center-midfield. And 69 minutes into the action Bitter showed that she can score from any position as she converted on a long shot over Little Falls keeper Lauren Thielman.

A few minutes later the Jacks iced the win when Schussman hit Maea Wall with a pass and Wall used her speed to avoid the defenders and score on a breakaway.

Palmer needed 10 saves, including six in the first half, to record the shutout.

"This was a great way to start the season," Schoonover said. "We wanted to win the opener and in the second half we were focused on what we needed to do.

"And now we have to come back on Saturday and do it again," the coach continued. "We have never played Wayzata and don't know what to expect. But I'm sure Wayzata is a strong team and we better be ready."

Bemidji 0 3 - 3

Little Falls 0 0 - 0

First Half

No scoring

Second Half

B-Bitter (Schussman), 57:00

B-Bitter (Holm), 69:00

B-Wall (Schussman), 76:00

Saves

Palmer (B) 6 4 - 10

Thielman (LF) 5 4 - 9

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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