Bemidji squanders chances in loss to Warriors
BEMIDJI – Creating scoring chances is the objective of any soccer team but frustration can set it when those opportunities do not translate into goals.
Saturday at the Bemidji middle school field the Lumberjacks girls played Brainerd stride-for-stride. The difference, however, was that the Warriors cashed in on three of their scoring opportunities while the Jacks squandered all of theirs.
The end result was a 3-0 Brainerd victory and Bemidji’s fourth loss in its last five games.
“We had many opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” said BHS coach Kelly Schoonover whose team fell to 6-5. “I feel that this game could have been a tie or at worst a 3-2 loss. And to walk away from it with zero goals is tough.”
Neither team scored in the opening 40 minutes but 2:10 into the second stanza the visitors tallied the only goal they would need.
Emily Beltran attacked from the left side and passed to Ally Smith who was stationed eight yards out in the slot. Smith took the feed, faked to her right forcing Bemidji goalie Casey Palmer to commit, and whistled a shot inside the left corner.
Brainerd continued to press and with 30 minutes to play Bemidji’s Jillian Ricci and Sierra Anderson both were injured when they bumped heads while trying to slow a Warrior attack.
Neither player returned and both left the field after the game with ice bags pressed to their heads.
Bemidji’s offense came close to tying the score a minute later when Erin Booth dribbled through Brainerd’s defense and centered a pass to Josie Spry who was camped in the box 15 yards out. Spry beat the lone defender but her shot whistled wide of the net.
Brainerd fared better five minutes later when Beltran raced to the net behind the BHS defense, took a pass and beat Palmer from 10 yards.
The Warriors iced the game with 12:59 to play when Beltran curled a 40-yard shot into the upper left corner.
The Lumberjacks generated at least six quality chances in the final 30 minutes but never were able to find the net.
“Some of our mistakes in front of the net were because of panic but, in general, we have to focus on playing with more intensity,” Schoonover said.
“On many of our shots we probably should have made one more simple pass,” the coach continued. “Sometimes when you get in front of the net you suffer from something like stage fright. As a team we need to be more intense. Our season is a learning process but we have to get things figured out soon before it’s time for the section playoffs.”
Bemidji’s next test will be Monday when it hosts Grand Rapids.
Brainerd 0 3 - 3
Bemidji 0 0 - 0
Bra-Smith (Beltran). 42:00
Campbell (Bra) 3 4 - 7
Palmer (Bem) 9 3 - 12