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Girls soccer: Bemidji cruises past Hillcrest 9-0

MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJIPIONEER Normally in the goal, Casey Palmer played offense for the Lumberjacks Monday against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. Palmer scored Bemidji's seventh goal in the 9-0 victory.

BEMIDJI -- Each season, the Bemidji girls soccer team is allowed to play 16 regular season contests and in a perfect world the games would be evenly spaced to allow plenty of time for adequate rest and recovery.

But we don't live in a perfect world.

"We're playing five games in eight days. It's not an ideal schedule but things just worked out this way," said BHS coach Kelly Schoonover. "We'll be able to rest next week when we only have one game."

Fortunately, all of the five games during the eight-day span will be at home. The homestand began Saturday when the Lumberjacks lost 2-1 in overtime to Moorhead. Monday BHS was back in action against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and, if you have to play a brutal stretch of games like this, it is nice to have a breather contest mixed in.

Hillcrest proved to be no match as the Jacks scored seven goals in the opening half and cruised to a 9-0 victory.

The rest of the homestand will feature stiffer opposition, however, as Duluth East comes to Bemidji today for a 5 p.m. game, East Grand Forks heads east on Thursday and Brainerd will make the trip to Bemidji on Saturday.

"Duluth East is a very good team and we certainly will be tested," Schoonover said. "East Grand Forks is a conference opponent and Brainerd is a section team.

"This is a very important stretch of games for us and it is a very tough stretch."

Bemidji, 5-4, had no trouble disposing of Hillcrest and Schoonover took advantage of the opportunity to give her players experience at different positions.

Laura Bieberdorf handled the netminding chores and the freshman needed only three saves to post the shutout.

Regular starting goalie Casey Palmer moved to offense and the senior collected a goal and two assists.

"We had defenders playing as forwards and forwards playing defense," Schoonover said. "I thought this would give the players a better perspective of what their teammates do."

The Lumberjacks scored seven goals by seven different players in the opening 40 minutes. Rachel Bitter opened the scoring a minute into the action and two minutes later Maea Wall beat the Hillcrest goalie.

Hailey Hinners upped the cushion to 3-0 nine minutes into the game and the rout was on.

BHS would score four more goals by intermission and having the honors were Rachel Gray, Annah Schussman, Paige Moen and Palmer.

The Jacks added two more goals in the second session as Jillian Ricci beat the goalie from 20 yards out with five minutes to play and Gray notched her second two minutes later.

"After scoring three goals in the first nine minutes the pressure was off and we had fun with the game," Schoonover said. "I guess if you are going to play a team like Hillcrest this was a good time. We're in a tough stretch of games but this one gave us the opportunity to have a little fun along the way."

Hillcrest Lutheran 0 0 - 0

Bemidji 7 2 - 9

First Half

B-Bitter (Wal) 1:00

B-Wall (Bitter) 3:00

B-Hinners (Wall) 9:00

B-Gray (Palmer) 16:00

B-Schussman (Palmer) 27:00

B-Moen (Schussman) 33:00

B-Palmer (Moen) 35:00

Second Half

B-Ricci (unassisted) 75:00

B-Gray (unassisted) 77:00


Duran (Hillcrest) 9 5 - 14

Bieberdorf (B) 2 1 - 3

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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