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SOCCER: Rally falls short as Bemidji boys lose in overtime

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LITTLE FALLS -- It will take time for the Bemidji High School boys soccer players to mesh into a cohesive team but during the second half of Friday's game here the foundation of that process appeared to be built.

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The Lumberjacks spotted Little Falls a 2-0 lead in the opening half but rallied in the second stanza to force overtime. The Flyers, however, took advantage of a BHS mistake during the second extra period and handed the Jacks a 3-2 loss.

"We showed character coming back to force overtime," said Bemidji coach Rick Toward. "A team always hates to lose but going into the season, after graduating 13 seniors, we knew it would take time for us to bond and to develop. We want to improve each time we step onto the field and on Friday we were much better in the second half than we were in the first."

The home team forged a 2-0 advantage after only 12 minutes of play. At the 9:11 mark Little Falls scored when a throw-in deflected off traffic and past Lumberjacks keeper Bruno Cheney. The Flyers scored again less than three minutes later when Jake Loukinen gained control along the right side and buried his shot.

"We gave up those early goals but we eventually started to play better," Toward sad. "We hit the crossbar with one shot and actually outshot them."

Early in the second stanza Bemidji's improved play paid dividends as Alex Schussman lofted a shot over the goalie and off the bar. The carom bounced back to Schussman and this time he beat the keeper.

At the 65:02 mark Matt Bitter converted Schussman's corner kick and the game was tied.

Neither team found the net during the remainder of regulation but Little Falls scored 12 seconds into the second 5-minute overtime to regain its lead. The Flyers were able to control play the rest of the stanza and preserve their cushion.

Today finds Bemidji traveling to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls for the second of its back-to-back starts to open the season.

Bemidji 0 2 0 0 - 2

Little Falls 2 0 0 1 - 3

First Half

LF-Little Falls (unassisted), 9:11

LF-Loukinen (unassisted), 12:00

Second Half

B-Schussman (Johannsen), 50:56

B-Bitter (Schussman), 65:02

Overtime

LF-Infinger (unassisted), 5:12

Saves

Cheney (B) 2 4 0 0 - 6

Eliason (LF) 8 5 0 0 - 13

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pmiller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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