BY ALEX BERG
BEMIDJI - After a scoreless first half Moorhead exploded for three goals in the second stanza to defeat the Bemidji High School girls soccer team 3-0 Saturday afternoon at the middle school field.
The Lumberjacks nearly scored the first goal of the game before the end of the third minute but Josie Spry’s shot hit off the left post and away from the net.
Just over 10 minutes later, Erin Booth’s shot was kicked away on a sliding deflection by Moorhead goalkeeper Emily Nord.
“Especially in the first half, we had a lot of good chances,” Bemidji coach Kelly Schoonover said. “In the first 15 minutes of the game, I think we had three fantastic scoring opportunities.”
Lumberjack goalkeeper Casey Palmer made three saves in the first half, including a diving save on a shot by Cheyenne Willoughby.
Palmer made a total of six saves on the day.
Both teams had their fair share of scoring opportunities in the first half, but the game was scoreless when the two teams headed to the locker rooms.
“Our goal initially was to gain control in the first 15 minutes,” Schoonover said. “Unfortunately, the bad luck just went with us, but that happens sometimes and it is frustrating.”
The Spuds scored their first goal in the opening minutes of the second half when Hannah Riveland connected on an assist from Missy Setter.
Riveland added a second goal from long distance to give Moorhead a 2-0 lead with 26:33 remaining in the game.
“I do not even think they made that many offensive adjustments, they are just a really solid team,” Schoonover said of Moorhead. “They are never standing around. They are always hustling to the ball. Their effort and speed got them a few goals in the second half.”
Bijanca Clark fired a shot past a diving Palmer to give the Spuds a commanding 3-0 lead with 16:26 remaining.
With just under 15 minutes to play, Maea Wall broke away from the Moorhead defense but saw her shot deflect off the cross bar and away from the net.
Bemidji fought for possession over the last 15 minutes but was unable to find the net as Moorhead hung on for the win.
“I think for awhile the girls got down on themselves a little bit, but then they got mad,” Schoonover said. “We started to put more pressure on Moorhead toward the end and earned some scoring opportunities, but nothing worked out.
“This game is a great learning opportunity for our team,” Schoonover said. “We have learned what it takes when we play against a tough and competitive opponent.”
Bemidji (6-3) will play at East Grand Forks 5 p.m. Thursday.
Moorhead 3, Bemidji 0
Moorhead 0 3 – 3
Bemidji 0 0 – 0
M- Riveland (Setter). 42:53
M-Riveland (Unassisted). 53:27
M- Clark (Unassisted). 63:34
Nord (M) 3 2 – 5
Palmer (B) 3 3 – 6