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Pat Miller: This week at Bemidji High School - volleyball team hosts 22-team scrimmage

It has only been a week since the Bemidji High School volleyball team began practice and the Lumberjacks have made the most of their time in the gym.

Last Friday BHS headed to Alexandria where the Jacks were able to scrimmage against most of their Section 8-3A peers. Today BHS will return to the competitive portion of its practice schedule as it will host 21 teams for the annual Lumberjacks scrimmage.

Bemidji will begin its action at 9 a.m. against Thief River Falls and, after having a short break, the Jacks will face Nevis at 10 a.m.

The rest of the 30-minute varsity scrimmage schedule finds the Lumberjacks facing Wadena-Deer Creek, Fergus Falls, Perham, Sebeka, Win-E-Mac and Pequot Lakes.

The Bemidji junior varsity will participate against some of the 11 smaller schools in the afternoon session, including a 3:15 p.m. scrimmage against Bagley. Cass Lake-Bena is also participating in the afternoon sessions.

The scrimmage format will be determined by the coaches.

“The coaches will decide how to use their 25 minutes,” said BHS assistant coach Netti Homer. “Some coaches may decided to scrimmage for the full time while others may decide to work on certain aspects of the game, such as serving.”

Last week at the Alexandria scrimmage Homer wasn’t surprised by what she saw, either from the Lumberjacks or from the other section teams.

“Alexandria looked strong while Moorhead and Monticello also looked solid,” Homer said. “But I also liked what I saw from our players. Our goal was to see what we need to focus on and to give everybody playing time so they had the opportunity to step up.

“And we saw different players in game situations. It was an awesome experience.”

Today’s goals will be similar.

“The coaches will be looking to see if anyone takes advantage of their opportunities,” Homer said. “We want to see who shows that they want to be considered for a regular position with the varsity.”

To no one’s surprise, court communication is an area that needs to improve. Bemidji enters this fall without four power hitters from the 2012 squad and Homer knows that it will take time for the team to jell.

“We have new kids in new positions and it will take time for us to learn how to work together,” Homer said. “But Tuesday’s scrimmage will help us make improvements in that area.”

The Jacks will open their season Aug. 27 when they entertain Perham. This month also includes a match on Aug. 29 at Detroit Lakes.

Start of the seasons

The first of what will be hundreds of Bemidji High School varsity athletic events during the upcoming school year occurred Monday when the girls tennis team headed to Pine City for an eight-team invitational. On Friday the boys and girls soccer teams open their campaigns at Little Falls.

The girls will take on the Flyers at noon while the boys game will follow at 2 p.m.

On Saturday the first home event of the year is on the docket as the girls soccer players entertain Wayzata at 1 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule also sees the boys soccer team at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and the girls swimmers making their 2013 debut at the Willmar Invitational.

By the end of next week all eight BHS fall programs will be in action. The cross country teams will open Aug. 26 at Moorhead, the volleyball team will host Perham on Aug. 27 and the football team will travel to Grand Rapids on Aug. 29.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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