BEMIDJI – One might forgive the Bemidji High School soccer team for being a bit tired Thursday.
After a tough 3-0 loss to Park in Cottage Grove, the Lumberjacks’ bus didn’t pull into Bemidji until nearly 1 a.m. Thursday morning.
That made Thursday afternoon’s game against Detroit Lakes – an important sectional foe – even more daunting for the Jacks.
It also made Bemidji’s 3-2 win all the more inspiring.
“It was a tough game,” BHS head coach Kelly Schoonover said. “The girls were a bit tired and they were dragging a bit. And we were struggling to retain possession.”
Whatever happened, the Jacks found their legs late.
Erin Booth’s goal in the 73rd minute broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Jacks their first – and, as it turns out, only – lead of the game.
Booth intercepted a Detroit Lakes pass near the midline and used her speed to blow by three red-shirted defenders converging on her. Then she stopped just inside the box and fired a scorcher past Laker goalkeeper Kathryn Foltz.
It was the perfect play for the Lumberjacks, who had spent most of the game putting good pressure on Foltz but failing to finish. Their tired legs might have had something to do with what Schoonover described as sloppy play in the first half.
“We just had a hard time connecting on passes,” Schoonover said. “We weren’t keeping possession and we were giving good chances away.”
Detroit Lakes’ Anya Butzer had put the Lakers up 1-0 only six minutes into the game, but that didn’t last long.
Booth scored her first goal in the 10th minute after DL keeper Foltz misplayed a ball. She kicked it directly to Jillian Ricci, who found Booth streaking to her right and Booth scored the equalizer.
Detroit Lakes took a 2-1 lead into the half. Libby Schmidt beat Palmer from way outside the box in the 19th minute.
It was a frustrating half for the Lumberjacks. They outshot the Lakers 9-6 in the first half and had six corner kicks to Detroit Lakes’ two.
“When we play teams like this, it’s tough being down 2-1,” Schoonover said. “We thought maybe we should have been up. Detroit Lakes played well, but we didn’t in the first half.”
That changed after the break. Bemidji came back with a second wind and capitalized on it.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Jacks won a corner – their second of the half.
Ricci sent the ball to right in front of the net and found Rachel Bitter waiting. Bitter headed it past Foltz for the equalizer.
“That really gave us some momentum,” Schoonover said. “It was a great header and a great corner.”
The Jacks kept pressing until Booth’s goal gave them the win. Detroit Lakes had a few chances after that but couldn’t find the back of the net.
“This is a game that we’re happy to pull off a win,” Schoonover said. “It wasn’t our best game but I’m glad we were able to find a way to come back.”
The Jacks have a few days of rest before their next game Sept. 8. They’ll host East Grand Forks in another section battle.
Bemidji 3, Detroit Lakes 2
Detroit Lakes2 0 – 2
Bemidji1 2 – 3
DL – Butzer (Schmidt), 6:00
B – Booth (Ricci), 10:00
DL – Schmidt (Olson), 19:00
B – Bitter (Ricci), 50:00
B – Booth, 73:00
Foltz (DL), 5
Palmer (B), 4
Morris (B), 3