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Paige Niskanen and the Bemidji soccer team host Detroit Lakes today at 5 p.m. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji High School Thursday sports preview: Girls soccer, volleyball teams have home spotlight

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The Bemidji volleyball team will make its home debut 7:15 p.m. today when it entertains Detroit Lakes.

The Lumberjacks are 1-0 this fall after outlasting Perham 3-2 Friday in Perham. BHS utilized everyone on the roster that night as Jess Yost sprained her ankle three points into the match and her teammates were forced to assume her duties.

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"That was a good test for us," said Bemidji coach Teresa Colligan. "It's nice to know that we can win without our top players."

Yost is not expected to play tonight but the sophomore is hopeful that she can return to the lineup Tuesday when the Jacks host Deer River.

That may be an optimistic approach, however.

"If Jess doesn't come back until the Marshall tournament (Sept. 10-11) that would be fine," Colligan said. "I don't want to rush her."

Bemidji also is without Kayla Hirt because of the knee injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament) she suffered late in the summer. Hirt will have the knee examined by University of Minnesota doctors today and tomorrow and by the end of this week she should know the severity of the tear and what treatment the specialists recommend.

"With Kayla and Jess both out we are facing some adversity," Colligan said. "But at least now we can see what the girls are made of."

What the coach saw at Perham were athletes who handled themselves like veterans and rose to the occasion.

"They never showed any signs of panic," Colligan said. "They knew what they had to do and they did it.

"Our injuries could be a blessing in disguise because the rest of the team has to pick up the slack and that should make us a better team, especially when Jess and Kayla return."

Among the girls who took full advantage of the opportunity was Liz Hirt.

"Liz was consistent the entire match," Colligan said. "She really picked up her play. Liz was out there the entire five games without a break and finished with 10 kills and only one hitting error."

Kellie Morehouse also was a key factor in the win over Perham.

"Kellie was so effective at the net that the Perham defense had to concentrate on stopping her," Colligan said.

Bemidji will take a 2-1 record into today's 5 p.m. home game against Detroit Lakes. The Jacks opened the year with a pair of one-sided victories, belting Little Falls at home 6-1 and blitzing Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 10-0 in Walker. Tuesday, however, BHS lost 6-0 at Moorhead.

"Moorhead is one of the better teams we'll see this year," said Bemidji coach Kelly Schoonover. "During that game the girls learned that we will need to play at a quicker tempo and we must improve our individual and team skills."

Bemidji downed Detroit Lakes 4-1 Tuesday for its first victory of the fall and today the Jacks will head to Walker.

"We played 60 minutes of very good soccer against Detroit Lakes but, more importantly, when we did make a mistake we didn't give up. We responded positively," said Jacks coach Rick Toward whose team improved to 2-1.

"During the homestand we improved each game. We dug ourselves a hole by losing the first two games but our goal for the next four games is to go over .500 for the season. To do that we'll need to win at least three of the games," Toward said.

"That would be a nice turnaround for us and it is something that we can do."

In addition to today's game at WHA, the schedule finds Bemidji visiting Grand Rapids on Tuesday, hosting East Grand Forks Sept. 9 and traveling to Two Harbors on Sept. 11.

The boys JV improved to 2-0-1 Tuesday with a 3-1 win over the Lakers. Alex Schussman scored twice and Elias Hendrickson once to pace the attack. Goalie Matthew Bitter, Schussman and Asa Erickson had assists.

Bitter and Ben Schreiber shared the goaltending duties.

The junior varsity will also be at WHA today.

The travels of the tennis team continue today as Bemidji heads to Greenway.

With only two home dates on the schedule, Sept. 21 against Detroit Lakes and Crookston, and two days later against Thief River Falls, the Jacks will be constantly on the road this fall.

Following today's trip, however, Bemidji will have 12 days off before resuming the schedule Sept. 14 at the Detroit Lakes Triangular.

Earlier this week Bemidji captured three individual titles at the Brainerd Invitational. Jessica Solberg took top honors at second singles as did Amy Frosaker at third singles. The fourth doubles tandem of Olivia Dickinson and Annika Johnson also finished first.

Claiming thirds were Claire Baumgartner and Haley Pollock at second doubles, Claudia Bellew at fourth singles and Cortne Solberg at first singles. The third doubles unit of Francesa Huerd and Jenna Lee and the first doubles tandem of Emma Nielsen and Katie Ditmanson were fourth.

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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