Fans at Friday’s Section 8-3A quarterfinal volleyball match between Bemidji and Alexandria at the BHS gym had the opportunity to observe teams that approached the battle from widely different viewpoints.
The visitors appeared happy for any little thing that went right. When Alexandria scored a point its players reacted like kids on Christmas morning. They jumped up and down, they screamed and, on occasion, they danced to celebrate the success.
By contrast, the Lumberjacks showed little emotion when things went their way. A perfect pass to Alexa Greendahl, her perfect set to Jess Yost and Yost’s killing spike, a sequence that was repeated very often during the match, did not evoke an emotional response from the Bemidji players.
After all, there was business to attend to and winning points is what the Lumberjacks were at the gym to do.
BHS made short work of Alexandria and their overreactions and advanced to today’s section semifinal contest at Monticello with a workmanlike 25-15, 25-23, 25-11 win over the Cardinals. And they plan to take a similar approach to today’s battle.
“We didn’t want to give Alexandria any hope,” Yost said of Friday’s victory. “Our goal is to win the state championship. We have the talent and the confidence to do that.”
Bemidji will take a 21-7 record into tonight’s match. The Lumberjacks also are the second seed from the North Sub-Section.
Monticello, which defeated Sauk Rapids 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 in Friday’s quarterfinals, owns a 16-13-1 record and the top seed in the South.
The Lumberjacks and Fergus Falls tied for first place in the North Sub-Section coaches’ rankings, each receiving three first-place votes and a pair of seconds.
The deadlock was broken by a coin flip conducted by Section 8 liaison David Hartmann. Fergus Falls won the flip and was awarded the North’s top seed.
The results of that coin flip meant that Bemidji would travel to Monticello today instead of playing at home.
A year ago the Lumberjacks made a similar road trip, traveling to Monticello for the semifinals. And they returned from that journey with a 25-21, 25-14, 25-14 victory.
If they repeat that success tonight the Jacks will play for the section title Saturday at a neutral site. They also will be one victory away from their second straight trip to the state tournament.
Bemidji had a surprisingly easy time Saturday in its 21-0 victory at Cambridge in the Section 7-5A semifinals.
James Hendricks scored midway through the second quarter on a 14-yard scamper, Tanner Boes found the end zone on a 10-yard run five minutes later and Brady Schmidt iced the victory with a 2-yard blast late in the game to give BHS its seventh win in 10 games.
The victory vaults the Lumberjacks into Friday’s section championship game against No. 1 seeded Chisago Lakes which blistered St. Francis 49-7 Saturday.
Bemidji is the third seed.
In the win over Cambridge neither team did much through the air. Hendricks completed three of 10 passes for 62 yards while the Cambridge receivers caught four of 14 for 87 yards.
The Lumberjacks did most of their damage on the ground, rushing 40 times for 267 yards. Tanner Boes gained 94 of those yards. In two playoff games Boes has 232 yards on 26 runs.
For the first time since 1998 the Bemidji boys cross country team will be competing at the state meet. Last week the Lumberjacks dominated their Section 8-2A peers and coasted to the section championship.
Bemidji’s Sam Carlson was the overall individual winner and his performance was complimented by having four teammates place in the top 20.
Elias Hendrickson was 10th, Kyle Sagedahl 13th, Adam Lewis 16th and Billy Freyholtz 19th.
Also contributing top performances were Caleb Appleton who was 24th and Seth Neubeck who was 28th.
The state meet will be Saturday at St. Olaf College in Cannon Falls and the Jacks will hit the starting line at 1 p.m.
Following that race a pair of Lumberjacks girls, Jenna Truedson and Megan Serratore, will compete in the Section 8-2A girls race.
Truedson placed fourth at the section meet while Serratore was seventh.
For the first in the school’s history TrekNorth will be represented at a state high school athletic meet.
That distinction belongs to Sadie Hamrin and Sarah Hamrin who finished fourth and seventh at the Section 8A cross country meet last Friday at Bagley.
The sisters will join their Class A peers at the starting line at 11 a.m. Saturday, also at St. Olaf.