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Bemidji HS soccer: Jacks to host St. Cloud Cathedral in section championship

Sartell's Hayden Speaks (bottom) is run over by Bemidji's Luke Upgren during the second half Tuesday. Photo Special to the Pioneer/Kimm Anderson, St. Cloud?Times

Max Hazelton scored 23 minutes into the first half and Connor McNallan stopped a penalty shot in the second period to power the Bemidji boys soccer team to a 1-0 victory Tuesday in the Section 8A semifinals at Sartell.

The victory vaults the Lumberjacks into the section title game which will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Bemidji Middle School field. Fans planning to attend are reminded that, because it is the section championship, admission will be charged. The admission fee will be $7 for adults and $4 for students.

All fans are asked to enter the complex from the 23rd Street parking area(the north side of Sagedahl Field).

BHS will meet St. Cloud Cathedral in the title game as Cathedral upset Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 3-0 in Tuesday's other semifinal.

"It was a great win," said Bemidji coach Rick Toward. "I believe that soccer is always a team game that requires the 11 guys on the field and everyone on the bench to be working together. But Tuesday Connor definitely was the player of the game."

With 18 minutes to play Sartell was awarded a penalty kick and McNallan was called upon to make the save of the season.

"Connor was able to read the kicker, hold his ground and then dive to the side to make the save," Toward said. "That was a great play."

Hazelton was the offensive hero as he took a feed from Isak Sommer and, from 16 yards, sent a rising shot toward the net.

"The Sartell goalie was able to get both hands on the shot but the shot had a lot of pace and found a way through his hands and into the net," Toward said.

The shot was one of only four Bemidji sent on the Sartell net. The home team, meanwhile, tested McNallan 10 times.

Tuesday's victory upped Bemidji's record to 15-4-1. The Lumberjacks have not allowed a goal in three section games having beaten WHA 5-0, Detroit Lakes 1-0 and Sartell 1-0.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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