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Lumberjacks: Bemidji fall sports teams return to practice

Noah Kovach, right, takes a shot on goal against defender Caleb Hess during Monday’s initial Bemidji High School boys soccer practice. The regular season will open August 22 at home against Little Falls. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 2
New Bemidji High School girls soccer coach Logan Larsen oversees Monday’s first day of practice. Larson and the Jacks will begin the 2014 campaign August 22 at home against Little Falls. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 2

BEMIDJI — Coaches never know what to expect during the first day of practice but Bemidji boys soccer coach Rick Toward was among the Lumberjacks coaches who were impressed and encouraged by the workouts on opening day.

“Considering Monday was our first day, I thought we looked very good,” Toward said. “The players were competitive and the level of play, including by some of the younger kids, was impressive.

“Many of our players from last year came back strong and there were some sophomores and freshmen who will force me to take a second look at them.”

The goal of the first week of practice, according to Toward, is to evaluate and instruct and those objectives were accomplished during Monday’s initial session.

“During the first week we just want to prepare everybody for what will come and we want to make sure everyone stays healthy,” the coach said. “Everybody came into camp in good shape and I’m happy with where the team is at.”

BHS football coach Troy Hendricks also is excited after putting his athletes through their paces on Monday.

“This is an exciting time,” Hendricks said. “Our goal this week will be to develop team chemistry and character. From an ‘Xs’ and ‘Os’ standpoint, we will try to get the mental part of the game down so we can adjust to the more physical aspect of the game when we put on the pads next week.”

Lumberjacks volleyball coach Teresa Colligan and her staff also will evaluate this week and that process will include a scrimmage on Friday at Alexandria.

“The goal of the first week is to take a look at all of the players and their skill level, and get a picture of who will contribute and where,” Colligan said. “I’m pleased with what I saw on Monday. We’re starting to see more quality in the program because of the success of our Junior Olympics program.”

Also staging their initial practices Monday were the BHS girls swimming and diving, boys and girls cross country, girls soccer and girls tennis teams.

The first team to be in action this fall will be the tennis squad which will compete at the Pine City Invitational on Aug. 18.

The soccer teams will open Aug. 22 at home against Little Falls while the swimmers will head to the Willmar Invitational on Aug. 23, volleyball will begin at Perham on Aug. 26, football at home against Grand Rapids on Aug. 29 and the cross country teams at Moorhead on Aug. 25.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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