Bemidji wins conference, hopes for top seed in 8A
Earlier this week the Bemidji boys soccer team was crowned the Lakes to Prairie Conference champion and on Monday the Lumberjacks are expected to receive the top seed in the Section 8A playoffs.
It's been a very good regular season.
Detroit Lakes did Bemidji a huge favor on Thursday when the Lakers upset Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 3-2 in overtime. That decision dropped Hillcrest to 7-2 in the conference while Bemidji finished 8-1.
The outcome also dropped Hillcrest behind the Lumberjacks in the section rankings and BHS is expected to maintain the top spot despite Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Moorhead in the regular season finale.
The reward for the top seed is a home match Thursday against No. 8 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley in the opening round of the Section 8A playoffs.
The seedings are expected to be officially announced Monday but the likely scenario sees Bemidji, which finished 10-6, at the top followed by Hillcrest, East Grand Forks, Alexandria, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Crookston and WHA.
In Saturday's finale Moorhead held a territorial edge and the advantage finally paid dividends with 36 seconds remaining in regulation when Isaac Borgan flipped a shot over BHS goalie Carl Graefe from near the edge of the 18-yard box. Graefe had come out to make a play on the ball but Borgan beat the goaltender and the defense to the ball and was in position to send the ball over Graefe and into the net.
The Spuds outshot Bemidji 13-4 but Graefe kept the Jacks in the game with numerous quality saves.
"Moorhead now is 13-2-1 and this is the type of team we want to play late in the season," said BHS coach Rick Toward. "Playoff games are like this. We know the playoff games will finish 1-0 or 2-1 and this game will help us prepare for that type of battle."
Moorhead seldom gave the Lumberjacks time to set up in the offensive zone, especially when Bemidji tried to utilize the deep ball.
"Moorhead was giving us the middle and we were hoping to use that part of the field to control the ball," Toward said. "But we ended up playing Moorhead's deep-ball style and that didn't work for us because Moorhead's pressure didn't give us any time or space.
"But, overall, I thought we played well and we're in fine shape heading into the playoffs," the coach said.
Moorhead 0 1 - 1
Bemidji 0 0 - 0
M-Borgan (Alomar) 79:24
Guertin (M) 3 1 - 4
Graefe (B) 6 6 - 12