Bemidji's dream of returning to state tournament ends
BEMIDJI – A year ago the Bemidji girls soccer team reached the state tournament after being seeded No. 3 in the North Sub-Section 8A field.
This fall Detroit Lakes owned that seed and, after the Lakers stunned No. 2 Bemidji 4-3 in overtime at the middle school on Saturday, Detroit Lakes has the opportunity to follow in the Jacks’ footsteps.
After 80 minutes of regulation and six minutes of extra play Laker Emily Payne took a deep pass behind Bemidji’s defense and beat BHS keeper Casey Palmer inside the right post for the game-winner.
The goal capped a rally that saw the visitors overcome a 3-1 halftime deficit with goals by Libby Schmit three minutes into the period and Payne’s tying marker midway through the stanza.
“Anything can happen in the playoffs,” said a disappointed BHS coach Kelly Schoonover. “Some games go your way and some games don’t. We had beaten Detroit Lakes twice during the regular season (3-2 and 4-3) but Saturday they came out with the mindset, the drive and the heart.
“We came out that way too but you could tell that Detroit Lakes was hungry to keep its season going.”
The Lakers opened the scoring with a successful penalty kick by Anya Butzer 11 minutes into the game.
The Lumberjacks, however, tied the game a minute later. Erin Booth clanked a shot off the crossbar and the rebound caromed to Katie Gray who back passed a feed to Emily Boyer. Boyer’s shot from 15 yards out sailed over the goalie and inside the left post.
BHS took a 2-1 lead at the 28-minute mark when Rachel Bitter drilled a long pass from midfield to Booth who was streaking toward the net from the left side. And Booth didn’t miss as her shot beat ipped past Kathryn Foltz’ right arm.
With a minute to play in the opening half the Lumberjacks struck again. Rachel Holm’s shot from the right slot was stopped by Foltz but the ball glanced off the goalie’s body to Maea Wall who was camped outside the left crease and Wall was able to tap home the rebound.
Bemidji, however, could not contain Detroit Lakes’ second-half attack. The Lakers tied the game and Payne eventually won it in overtime.
“We finished 11-7 and, overall, I think we had a good year,” Schoonover said. “It’s always nice to see a good record at the end of the season but, more importantly, it is nice to see how the players improved in skill, character development and friendships that were formed.
“And we had a successful year in that regard.”
Detroit Lakes 1 2 1 - 4
Bemidji 3 0 0 - 3
DL-Butzer (penalty shot). 11:15
B-Boyer (Gray, Booth). 12:32
B-Booth (R.Bitter). 28:11
B-Wall (Holm). 38:54
DL-Schmit (unassisted). 42:30
DL-Payne (Jordan, Heinecke). 61:40
DL-Payne (unassisted). 5:59
Foltz (DL) 4 4 0 - 8
Palmer (B) 5 6