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SOCCER: Cruising to victory

Bemidji High School junior Aspen Galdamez (10) keeps the ball from Detroit Lakes sophomore Garrett Bakken in the first half of the game on Monday at Bemidji Middle School. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School senior Makumba Esoe (15) boots the ball toward the Detroit Lakes goalie during the first half of Monday's game at Bemidji Middle School. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Heading into Monday’s game against Detroit Lakes at the Bemidji Middle School, Bemidji High School boys soccer head coach Rick Toward hoped it would be a game to work on some things, particularly on the back line.

“Our goal coming into this was to take care of business with the scoreboard, but we wanted to have our back line communicate a little more effectively with one another, keep their defensive shape where they’re working together as a team, rather than as individuals,” he said.

Just seven minutes into the game, Silas Hess, Luke Hess and Linaes Whiting had already scored to give the Lumberjacks (6-1) a 3-0 lead, and Toward was able to get some of the more inexperienced players some time on the pitch.

“We’re very confident,” he said. “If we get three, we’re not going to give up four, against anybody in the state. We felt real confident that at that point we could get a lot of bench players on, get them some minutes. They push hard in practice, they try to make our starters better in practice, so this is their reward.”

Whiting secured his fourth hat trick of the season to go up 5-0 by the half, and he added a fourth goal in the 51st minute, his 14th of the season.

Junior Aspen Galdamez looked hungry for his first varsity goal throughout the first half, and he finally netted it early after the break. Ben Hess had an opportunity to finish right in front of the opposing keeper, but instead back-heeled it diagonally to Galdamez, who was waiting with a wide open net for the finish.

“I played a ball in to the outside mid, and he slid it back to Ben,” said Galdamez. “He got in a tussle with the goalie and he just slid it back to me and I finished it. I called for the ball, but he was also being really unselfish in helping me, so it was good of him to do that.”

Galdamez, who has been playing varsity since his freshman year, has never been concerned with scoring goals.

“I’ve always tried to look for the assist and help my teammates out because it’s more important for the team to win,” he said.

But he was happy to get his first goal out of the way, and he didn’t wait long to get his second. After Whiting scored his fourth of the game in the 51st minute, Galdamez attacked the 18-foot box with speed and was tripped up for a penalty kick, which he easily booted past the diving keeper for an 8-0 BHS lead.

Before final time, Aidan Helwig and Brekt Thorsgard added goals to bring it to 10-0.

While most of the game was spent on the offensive end of the field, Toward was focused on defense, and he was happy with what he saw.

“I was pleased with the way our back line held things together,” he said. “There were moments that we had breakdowns, but those were coming more out of the wings than they were down the middle.”

The Lumberjacks host their fifth straight home game at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, against Crookston at BMS. But although Bemidji is ranked No. 3 in the QRF standings, their attention is still on the pitch.

“We’re totally focused on playing game-by-game and the last game of the season being the best game we play,” said Toward.

Bemidji 10, Detroit Lakes 0

BHS 5 5 -- 10

DLHS 0 0 -- 0

First Half -- BHS GOAL: S. Hess (L. Hess) 2’, 1-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: L. Hess (B. Hess) 6’, 2-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: Whiting (Mock) 7’, 3-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: Whiting, (L. Hess) 17’, 4-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: Whiting (Helwig) 21’, 5-0 BHS.

Second Half -- BHS GOAL: Galdamez (B. Hess) 43’, 6-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: Whiting (Unassisted) 51’, 7-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: Galdamez (Penalty Kick) 56’, 8-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: Helwig (Sauer) 63’, 9-0 BHS; BHS GOAL: B. Thorsgard (Jernigan) 77’, 10-0 BHS.