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Bemidji High School volleyball road show resumes

Extended road trips are nothing new to the Bemidji volleyball team. and tonight the Lumberjacks will endure another when they head to St. Michael.

There will, however, be extra zip in their steps tonight because BHS and St. Michael-Albertville are playing in the Section 8-3A semifinals. Because it is election day, no high school event can start prior to the close of the polls so today's match will begin at 8:01 p.m.

"It's always exciting to be playing in a section semifinal," said Bemidji coach Teresa Colligan. "Naturally, some nerves will go along with the excitement but I believe in these girls. They have learned along the way this year and they have continued to grow. To have a successful season the girls just needed to believe in themselves.

"And now they have," the coach added.

The Lumberjacks will take a 15-14 record and the section's third seed into today's contest. The Knights are 17-11 and earned the second seed.

The teams met in mid-September at the Southwest State Invitational and the Knights posted a 25-17, 25-15 win. Colligan, however, doesn't consider that result relevant to today's match.

"We couldn't do much that day but we've come a long way since then," Colligan said. "And I'm sure St. Michael has come a long way as well."

Early in the campaign BHS was mired in a slump that produced one win in seven matches but a change in philosophy helped the Lumberjacks turn their season around.

"I think the girls realized that they needed to boost it up in practice," the coach said. "They realized that they couldn't take any shortcuts. They realized they had to move on the block and move on the feet."

Bemidji will be the underdog tonight and again on Friday if they win at St. Michael and advance to the 8-3A championship match. And that is fine with Colligan.

"We don't have that target on our head, St. Michael does," the coach said. "Our goal is to be a very competitive team, be scrappy, play sound defense, come out strong, leave everything on the court and, most importantly, have fun."

Jenna Truedson will spend the week preparing for Saturday's state cross country meet at Northfield.

The Class AA girls race will start at 2 p.m. and conclude the day's activities.

Truedson qualified for the meet by finishing fifth at the section meet at Fergus Falls.

The Lumberjacks will shoot for a state tournament berth Friday when they entertain Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. in the 7-4A title game.

Bemidji earned the home game by claiming the top seed and belting Hermantown 34-6 Saturday. Grand Rapids is the second seed and advanced with a 16-12 victory over Duluth Central.

The regular season ended over the weekend and the Jacks are altering their practice routine to prepare for the 8A meet Nov. 12-13 in Bemidji.

BHS hopes to be at its peak at the section meet and the goal is to upend Park Rapids which is the defending 8A champion.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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