BEMIDJI – During Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Brainerd the Bemidji girls soccer team generated numerous scoring chances but constantly missed the target or failed to get off a quality shot.
Taking advantage of those opportunities will be instrumental to any success the Lumberjacks will have during the rest of the regular season and the section playoffs.
BHS had an opportunity to begin its post-season push on a positive note Monday when the Jacks entertained Grand Rapids and 10 minutes into the contest Bemidji owned a 2-0 lead. The home team didn’t score again but its defense allowed only one Thunderhawks tally and the Lumberjacks held on for a 2-1 victory.
Josie Spry took Rachel Bitter’s pass, stepped around the keeper and knocked home Bemidji’s first goal nine minutes into the action. Less than a minute later Spry struck again, this time converting Katie Gray’s assist and beating the goalie from six yards out.
“The girls came off Saturday’s Brainerd game knowing that we could play much better than we did and today we came out and hit it hard,” said BHS coach Kelly Schoonover. “We started the game with intensity. One of the goals going into this game was to start another winning streak and the girls did that.”
The Lumberjacks had lost three straight games prior to Monday and were in the midst of a streak that included four losses in the past five outings.
The mid-season slump had dropped Bemidji to 6-5 but Monday’s win could be the spark that the Jacks are seeking.
“Whenever we play Grand Rapids we know it’s going to be a tight game,” Schoonover said. “It was great to see us score those early goals because in the second half we had a hard time making runs with the ball. In the second half we found ourselves playing defensively.”
Grand Rapids finally broke through Bemidji’s defense with 2:57 to play when Cassie Johnson took a pass behind the Jacks defense, dribbled to the slot and beat BHS keeper Casey Palmer from 15 yards out.
The Thunderhawks generated one more scoring chance with 1:30 on the clock when Annie Johnson dribbled behind the defense but Bemidji’s Lydia Bitter caught Johnson, stole the ball and booted it across the end line.
“We have many girls who play the full 80 minutes and it’s hard to keep your intensity for that long,” Schoonover said. “There is plenty of time for ups and downs in this game, especially when you are missing two starters.”
During Saturday’s loss Jillian Ricci and Sierra Anderson banged heads during a play in Bemidji’s defensive zone and neither was available Monday. Both players will also be on the sideline Thursday when the Lumberjacks head to Moorhead.
Grand Rapids 0 1 - 1
Bemidji 2 0 - 2
B-Spry (R.Bitter), 9:00
B-Spry (Gray), 9:30
GR-Johnson (unassisted), 77:00
Sundy (GR) 2 3 - 5
Palmer (B) 1 7 - 8