BEMIDJI – The competitive soccer seasons at Bemidji High School begin today, as the girls and boys host Little Falls at the middle school field.
The doubleheader will begin at noon with the girls game while the boys teams will square off at 2 p.m.
On Saturday both teams will be in action again. The boys will entertain Hillcrest Lutheran Academy while the girls will head to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Both games are scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
The girls program is coming off a historic 2011 which culminated with a state tournament appearance. This fall’s squad hopes to use that accomplishment as a springboard for continued success.
“Our state appearance has set the bar high for this year,” said coach Kelly Schoonover. “As a coach I have high expectations for the team and the girls have also raised their expectations. The girls got a taste of success last season and are hungry for more.
“We have a talented group which has been willing to put in the hard work,” Schoonover continued. “It will be fun to see where the journey will take us.”
Included in that group are forwards Josie Spry, Erin Booth, Jillian Ricci and Emily Boyer. Spry and Booth led the team in scoring last year and will be among the offensive leaders again this fall.
The defense is a work in progress but returns Sierra Anderson, Paige Moen and goalie Casey Palmer.
“Right now we are experimenting with positions and a different style of play to see what works best,” Schoonover said.
Bemidji advanced to the section semifinals last fall, losing 3-2 to St. Cloud Cathedral in a shootout.
With eight starters and five reserves back, however, coach Rick Toward believes that the Lumberjacks should do even better this season.
The road to what the Jacks hope will lead to a state tournament appearance begins today.
Toward’s projected starting cast will include goalie Connor McNallan, fullbacks Devin Barrett, Wyatt Miller, Matthew Bitter and Gunnar Nelson, midfielders Austin Kovach, Isak Sommer and Joel Johannsen plus strikers Seth Wall, Alex Schussman and Riley Brooks.
Ready to fill in where needed are Jack Schmidgall, Justin Jernigan, Isak Erickson, Ryan Greendahl, Asa Erickson and Neiko Gale.