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Bemidji hosts two soccer playoff games

Bemidji will make soccer history today.

In its 21st season of play, Bemidji will host two Section 8A North playoffs this afternoon in a rare double header.

The girls will take on Detroit Lakes at 3 and the boys will face Walker-Hackensack-Akeley at 4:30.

The winners advance to second-round games Thursday at the higher seeds, the boys at home if they win today.

Detroit Lakes drew the top seed in the boys division and a first-round bye. It will play the Hillcrest-Crookston winner in the second round. Bemidji will take on the Alexandria-East Grand Forks winner. Alex is the No. 3 seed.

The girls will be on the road, should they win today, at top seeded East Grand Forks. Other first-round games send No. 7 Hillcrest to No. 2 Fergus Falls and No. 6 Crookston to No. 3 Alexandria. If form prevails, Alex would play at Fergus Thursday.

The section finals will be next Tuesday at the higher seeds with the section title games at St. Cloud State Oct. 22, the boys playing at 5:30 and the girls at 7:30.

This will be Bemidji's first year in Class A, where their chances are considerably better than in the past two decades as a 2A school.

The boys went 2-1 in 2007, their only two wins in history. They are 2-20 in postseason play.

The girls are 8-20, their best year going 2-1 in 1996. Two of their eight wins came in the early years when they won an 8-9 playoff for the final berth in the quarterfinals.

Last year the boys fell to Elk River 4-1 in their first start and the girls bowed to Buffalo 5-0.

Elk River lost to St. Cloud Tech in the title game. Buffalo gained the girls state meet.

The boys bring a 10-4-2, mark to the sectional, including a 9-0 win over W-H-A early this season.

The Wolves have pressed only East Grand Forks in a pair of 3-2 setbacks and have been badly beaten in most of their games.

They lost one of their top weapons this fall when freshman Izak Sommer transferred to Bemidji.

Bemidji is led by strikers Rylee Curb 23-3--26) and Max Hazelton (8-8--16) who have been consistent scorers all fall. Kevin Larson is strong in the net as Bemidji has allowed more than two goals only four times, one of those a 4-3 decision over East Grand Forks.

The girls ended 8-8-1 after dropping their last game to Detroit Lakes 3-2. They had beaten the Lakers by the same score in overtime in their first meeting.

Their inability to finish off promising scoring chances killed their second game efforts which saw Bemidji jump to a 2-0 lead, then fail to score again. DL got one goal back on a short-range free kick and added two breakaways in the second half to win.

Bemidji rides a balanced scoring attack that shows Bronwyn Boyd with 15 points, Caitlin Blotske and Erin Booth with 13 and Andrea Hanson with 10.

Nicole Ramos in goal and a solid defense are strong points that have allowed three or more goals only five times, twice giving four to unbeaten East Grand Forks and a high of five to St. Cloud Apollo.