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MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER
Forward Rachel Bitter scored Bemidji's second goal of Thursday's 8-1 win over Crookston and went on to collect a hat trick.
MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER Forward Rachel Bitter scored Bemidji's second goal of Thursday's 8-1 win over Crookston and went on to collect a hat trick.

GIRLS SOCCER: Bemidji overpowers Crookston

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sports Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI -- After playing three games within a week, and winning all three, Bemidji High School girls soccer coach Kelly Schoonover decided that she would give her players a break today. Instead of hitting the practice field and fine tuning their strategy for Saturday's test at St. Cloud Cathedral, the Lumberjacks will have a team run at Diamond Point and then watch the Bemidji State University team face Missouri Western in the inaugural game at Chet Anderson Stadium.

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Prompting that decision were some nagging injuries to key players and the recent rigorous schedule.

The three-game streak began on Aug. 29 with a 2-1 overtime win at Detroit Lakes. On Tuesday BHS posted an important 2-1 win at East Grand Forks and Thursday Bemidji improved to 3-2 overall with an easy 8-1 home victory over Crookston.

The Pirates opened the scoring 10 minutes into the action but the Lumberjacks dominated the rest of the contest. Goals by Anna Schussman, Maea Wall and Rachel Bitter provided a 3-1 advantage at the half and BHS cemented the victory with five unanswered tallies in the final 40 minutes.

Bitter completed her hat trick with two more goals in the second stanza while Katie Gray scored twice and Wall notched her second of the day.

"We've had some minor injuries and we are still on the mend following the East Grand Forks game," Schoonover said. "We're still working out the bugs and I don't think we were at 100 percent at the start of Thursday's game. But we came back after the slow start and won a game we were supposed to win."

Any hopes of a Crookston upset were dashed in the early minutes of the second half as Bitter scored one minute into the period on a breakaway, Gray tallied courtesy of Wall's assist eight minutes later and Bitter collected her third of the game, also on a breakaway, at the 54-minute mark.

"When you face a team like Crookston after playing a strong team such as East Grand Forks you can lose your shape and play a little sloppy," Schoonover said. "I think that is what happened to us early in the game.

"But a game like this is a good opportunity for us to work on some different things and we took advantage of that opportunity."

Leighton Rockensock tended Bemidji's net and allowed the early Crookston goal but she held the Pirates at bay the rest of the way. Rockensock needed only four saves to post the victory. Bemidji's offense, however, peppered Crookston goalie Carly Welter with 30 shots.

The Jacks will take a 3-2 record into Saturday's contest.

Crookston 1 0 - 1

Bemidji 3 5 - 8

First Half

C-Brekken (Argveta), 10:00

B-Schussman (Gray), 17:00

B-Wall (Ricci), 28:00

B-Bitter (Holm), 37:00

Second Half

B-Bitter (unassisted), 41:00

B-Gray (Wall), 49:00

B-Bitter (unassisted), 54:00

B-Gray (Bitter), 58:00

B-Wall (Gray), 60:00

Saves

Welter (C) 10 12 - 22

Rockensock (B) 4 0 - 4

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