Following an 0-2 start Bemidji boys soccer coach Rick Toward challenged his players to become leaders on and off the field.
And the players responded.
"We played very solid soccer," Toward said after the Lumberjacks blanked Crookston 5-0 Thursday in Bemidji. "We found the open space and controlled play."
Thursday's victory extended Bemidji's unbeaten streak to seven games and upped the record to 6-2-1. The Jacks will try to continue that success Saturday when they visit Brainerd.
Bemidji took advantage of the wind during Thursday's win as it scored four first-half goals.
Kyle Fodness converted Isak Sommer's feed five minutes into the action and two minutes later the players reversed roles as Sommer scored with help from Fodness.
At the 10-minute mark Max Hazelton provided a 3-0 lead when he scored courtesy of Austin Kovach's assist. Midway through the half BHS struck again as Ben Peterson connected with help from Sommer.
Fodness added the clinching goal 4:25 into the second half when he scored courtesy of Kovach's assist.
"Once we got the lead we were able to make some adjustments with our lineup and moved people to different spots," Toward said. "We wanted to see how some of our players would do in different positions and this was a game that gave us the chance to experiment."
Carl Graefe stopped nine shots in the BHS net including a penalty shot with 5:50 to play. Bemidji's offense fired 20 shots at the Crookston goalie.
Bemidji collected a pair of victories Thursday at Moorhead as it defeated Fergus Falls and Moorhead by 6-1 scores.
Cortne Solberg was a double winner at first singles as were Jessica Solberg at second singles and Amy Frosaker at third.
Emma Nielsen and Katie Ditmanson posted a pair of wins at first doubles.
Mackenzie Schultz won her Moorhead match at fourth singles and teamed with Haley Pollock for a second doubles victory against Fergus Falls.
Pollock and Claire Baumgartner combined to defeat their Moorhead foes at second doubles and Olivia Dickinson teamed with Annika Johnson for a third doubles win against Fergus Falls.
Falling in doubles against Moorhead were Francesca Huerd and Jenna Lee while Claudia Bellew dropped her fourth singles match against Fergus Falls.
Bemidji's boys and girls cross country teams both finished sixth in a field of 17 at Thursday's meet in Little Falls.
"The girls significantly improved their times of last week and it was nice to see both teams step up to the challenge," said BHS coach Ryan Aylesworth.
In the girls varsity race Monticello took first place with 47 points. Bemidji tallied 183 for sixth place.
Jamie Hidenberg of Alexandria won the individual race in a time of 14:13.
Bemidji was led by Bailey Drewes who finished fifth in 15:31. Also counting for the Jacks were Jenna Truedson who was ninth (15:36), Kim Truedson who was 17th (15:52), Laura Edwards who was 70th (17:18) and Mikayla Connel who was 82nd (17:41).
Alexandria took the boys title with 62 points. Bemidji tallied 149 for sixth.
Zach Hodgsen of Alexandria was the top runner as he completed the course in 16:21.
Alex Schoneberger paced BHS in 11th place (16:56). John Buckanaga was 15th (17:10), Dan Clemenson 26th (17:30), Jake Urban 45th (17:58) and Scott Hulsebus 52nd (18:07).
Andy Berube was ill and did not run.
The girls soccer squad collected its second straight victory Thursday as it stopped Grand Rapids 3-1 in Grand Rapids.
Caitlin Blotske had the hat trick for the Jacks who improved to 5-4. Blotske scored eight minutes into the action courtesy of Brit Kiser's feed and eight minutes later Blotske connected off Andrea Hanson's assist.
She completed her hat trick with help from Kiser one minute into the second half.
The home team broke Casey Palmer's shutout bid with a goal at the 60-minute mark.
Palmer had eight saves and Bemidji tested the Grand Rapids goaltender 13 times.
The Lumberjacks will be home 1 p.m. Saturday against Brainerd.
Grand Forks Red River outlasted the Bemidji volleyball team 28-26 in Thursday's opening game and rode that win to a 3-1 match victory in Bemidji.
The Rough Riders took the second game 25-21 and, after Bemidji extended the match with a 25-15 third-game win, the visitors closed the evening with a 25-16 triumph in the fourth game.
The opening game proved decisive. BHS led most of the way but Red River rallied to tie at 24-24 and win the next point to take a 25-24 lead.
Bemidji, however, used Liz Hirt's winning push and spike to regain the advantage at 26-25.
The visitors drew even once again on a power spike and used a stuff and a BHS mistake to take the game 28-26.
In the second game Red River snapped a 14-14 deadlock by capturing six of the next seven points. The Jacks sliced their deficit to 24-21 before the visitors claimed the win with a tip.
Bemidji extended the match by taking the third game 25-15 and forged a 12-9 lead in the fourth game before the Rough Riders rallied.
A 5-point run gave Red River the lead and the visitors closed the match with another 5-point flurry.
Thursday's loss dropped the Lumberjacks to 5-6. Bemidji is off until Monday when it visits Grand Rapids.