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Historic win: Bemidji volleyball defeats Moorhead

The Bemidji High volleyball team ended 29 years of frustration Thursday night, handing Moorhead a 3-0 setback on the Spuds court.

It was the first Bemidji win over Moorhead in the long history of the sport.

In fact, during that stretch they had seldom managed to win a single set, doing so only two or three times, one coming last year.

But Bemidji outlasted Moorhead in the opening game 25-22, took control late in the second to win 25-18 and demolished the perennial section champions 25-6 in the third.

It lifted the winners to 12-2 and was their fourth straight since a loss to Roseville in the title game of the North Branch Invitational

While the win was a monumental accomplishment, the team has little time to rest on its laurels, traveling to Fergus Falls Tuesday and playing in the Perham Invitational Saturday, another major event. Fergus stood 6-5 at last report.

Bemidji swept the Otters here in three close games last year and went 2-2 at Perham.

Moorhead dropped to 5-8, most of its losses to the state's better teams.

"We were ready to play tonight and never let Moorhead take control," said a delighted Coach Colligan.

The opener was a back and forth game with neither team able to mount a large lead, the largest the three point margin at the end.

But at the end, Bemidji held control and took a 1-0 lead.

The second game saw Bemidji move ahead early, moving to a 16-9 lead midway through the set.

But Moorhead did not go down easily, rallying to take the lead at 17-16 before Bemidji regained control and outscored the Spuds 9-1 down the stretch. A seven-point run turned the tide with all but one of the final nine points coming on Moorhead errors. Kayla Hirt had the lone earned point in the run on a block.

The final game was one that will likely be remembered for years by the players, coaches and fans. Bemidji took control 10-1 at the outset and steadily widened the gap, never allowing Moorhead to get untracked.

Bemidji combined seven kills with five aces and profited from 13 Moorhead errors.

It was a total team effort with every player having a hand in the victory.

Kayla Hirt led the attack with seven kills but Courtney Bitter added six, Ashley Hirt four and Megan Claypool and Kelsey Heisler three.

Bitter had 11 assists, the lower than average figure caused by the outstanding passing of her teammates.

Ashley Hirt and Amber Teal led the back court with nine digs each. Bitter added eight.

Meg Claypool and Bitter had three aces while Ashley Hirt had four blocks.

But Bitter was very much in evidence all night with here 11 assists, 10 digs, five kills and three aces.

"It was the best game we've ever played," said captain Megan Gullickson. "We were all crying after it was over. It was awesome."

Moorhead swept the three preliminaries winning the JV game 25-12, 25-14. The B and C team games also were 2-0 Spuds victories, scores of which were not immediately available.

BEMIDJI (kills-blocks-aces): Bitter 5-1-3 (11 assists, 10 digs), K. Hirt 7-3-0, Heisler 2-1-0, A. Hirt 4-0-1, Larson 0-1-0, Claypool 3-0-2, Teal 0-0-1 (9 digs), Arndt 0-0-0.

MOORHEAD: Bruggeman 3-3-0, A. Hagen 0-0-0, E. Hagen 0-0-0 (12 digs), Peterson 0-1-0, Gilbertson 3-0-1, Penas 0-0-0, Just 0-0-0, Frost 0-0-0 (8 assists), Olek 0-0-0, Hooten 1-2-0, Johnson 2-1-3 (13 digs), Rogalla 6-3-0.