Girls soccer; Moorhead scores in OT to nip Bemidji 2-1
BEMIDJI — A cold rain hit the Bemidji middle school during halftime of Saturday's girls soccer game between Bemidji and Moorhead but the combatants dismissed the unpleasant conditions and concentrated on the task at hand.
After a scoreless first half the Spuds struck for the game's first goal 64:19 into the action. BHS worked for Maea Wall's tying tally with less than nine minutes to play in regulation and the teams were deadlocked 1-1 after 80 minutes.
Moorhead, however, scored 4:35 into first overtime and the goal proved to be the winner as the Spuds stopped the Lumberjacks 2-1.
"It was an intensely played game," said Bemidji coach Kelly Schoonover. "We had many scoring opportunities but most of our shots went just wide. But it was a fun game to be part of and a fun game to watch."
Saturday's game featured two evenly-matched teams and the outcome could have gone either way.
To no one's surprise the play was physical as neither team hesitated to use the body to gain position. That style resulted in tight checking at midfield but occasionally an attacker would slip through the defense and be rewarded with a scoring opportunity.
Moorhead created such a chance with 16:41 remaining in the second half as Taylor Nyborg found an opening about 18 yards out and, after creating more open space with a spin move, she delivered a shot which sailed just over the arms of BHS netminder Casey Palmer and into the net.
Palmer played well and the senior had to, especially in the final 20 minutes when the Spuds generated numerous chances.
With 10 minutes to play in regulation Palmer denied Marissa Wong from 12 yards out and that play sparked the Lumberjacks offense.
With Maea Wall leading the charge the home team battled back and the effort paid dividends with 8:19 to play in regulation when the Lumberjacks tied the game.
A pass over the defense found Wall and, after dribbling through and past three defenders, Wall beat Moorhead goalie Audri Wenger from 15 yards out.
A few minutes later Wall duplicated the play but that time Wenger just beat Wall to the loose ball.
Tied 1-1 after regulation the teams staged a pair of 5-minute overtimes. Late in the first extra period Moorhead was awarded a free kick from outside the box and the boot sailed to Wong. BHS had one chance to clear but when that failed Wong found the net with a 10-yard shot.
The Lumberjacks' attack was kept in check the rest of the way and Moorhead eventually escaped with a 2-1 victory.
"We always are disappointed with a loss but I was proud of our effort," Schoonover said. "We challenged Moorhead to every ball and we worked together.
"Moorhead had some good shots and we had some good shots and it was a great soccer game."
Saturday's contest marked the beginning of a home stand that sees Bemidji playing five games in eight days. The next outing will be 5 p.m. Monday when BHS hosts Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.
Moorhead 2, Bemidji 1, OT
Moorhead 0 1 1 0 - 2
Bemidji 0 1 0 0 - 1
M-Nyborg (unassisted) 64:19
B-Wall (unassisted) 71:41
M-Wong (unassisted) 4:35
Wenger (M) 4; Palmer (B) 12