"We haven't lost on this court in three years," said an emphatic head coach. "And were not going to do it tonight."
With those motivational words from Teresa Colligan, the Bemidji High School volleyball team went on a 10-0 run in the fifth set to close out Lake of the Woods for a 3-2 victory Tuesday night at the Field House.
It gave Bemidji a school-record 22 victories.
The set scores were 25-20, 20-25, 19-25, 27-25 and15-5.
The Bears, ranked eighth in Class A, came close to knocking off the Lumberjacks but ultimately could not close out the victory.
The opening set was a tight match throughout, even though Bemidji never trailed. The Bears kept within three until giving up back-to-back points as the Lumberjacks won 25-20.
Things turned quickly though.
Bemidji held a 10-6 lead early in the second set until Baudette senior Holland Johnson took the serve and rattled off four straight aces to grab the lead 11-10.
"Those aces were huge," said Lake of the Woods coach Jill Olson. "But, we have never used the net as much as we did tonight."
"We really struggled with our passing on serves," said assistant coach Netti Homer after Lake of the Woods scored three more aces in the set, winning 25-20.
Bemidji struggled in the third as well down 19-12; they pushed it to within five, but Lumberjack middle hitter Abby Hendricks was handcuffed by a Laura Ellis kill to lose 25-19.
Things were nearly over in the fourth set as the Bears marched to 21-14 lead until Hendricks took the serve.
Colligan then pulled her team together and told them they would not have their first loss be tonight.
Hendricks led the rally with Bemidji scoring three-straight, including an ace, to get back within five and eventually even at 25. The Jacks closed it out when Ali Hasbargen hit into the net to finish the set.
Tied at two-sets-a-piece, Bemidji ran then final 10 points to win the fifth 15-5.
"Volleyball is a real momentum sport," said Homer. "Fortunately we got it late."
"It felt great to win like that, in five," said senior Kelsey Heisler. "We've been playing that group of seniors since the eighth grade and they have always been really tight matches."
Bemidji heads to the section tournament with the single-season record for wins at 22-5.
Lake of the Woods, 15-7-2, has two more games.
Heisler led the Jacks with 17 kills and Kayla Hirt had 14.
Brooke Homer finished with 40 set assists.
Courtney Homer had 30 digs, Erika Weimann had 29. Hendricks and Heisler two aces each.
The BHS JV and B teams swept 25-18, 29-27 and 25-17, 25-14.