Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.
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The Bemidji girls tennis team made the most of its first home appearance Tuesday as the Lumberjacks swept a triangular with Detroit Lakes and Crookston. BHS blanked Detroit Lakes 7-0 and stopped the Pirates 6-1. More importantly, the girls played well in both matches. "We took care of business in singles and we saw many good things with our doubles teams," said BHS coach Mark Fodness. "Crookston padded its doubles teams and I was anxious to see how we would do.
The bear harvest in the Bemidji area was down 65 percent after four days from a year ago but saw only a 30 percent drop after nine days. The harvest seems to follow an every-other-year cycle in the Bemidji and Park Rapids areas, according to DNR officials, and this was the year the harvest was expected to decline. "In the Park Rapids area we notice ups and downs every other year with the bear harvest," said Greg Henderson, a DNR wildlife technician in Park Rapids.
A perfect athletic schedule would feature half the contests on the road and the other half at home. Playing away from home is important because the athletes must learn how to perform at their best in enemy territory. The majority of the post-season events are not played on home turf so learning how to win away from home is vital to any team and any program that wishes to challenge for tournament laurels. But playing at home also is important to a successful program. At times the pressure to win can be even greater when an athlete is performing in front of family and friends.
Bemidji's Josie Spry scored 17 minutes into the game, but Brainerd countered with a pair of goals in the first half and the Warriors hung on through a scoreless second period to down the Lumberjack girls soccer team 2-1 Saturday in Bemidji. Saturday's setback evened Bemidji's record at 5-5. The Lumberjacks will try to better the .500 mark Tuesday when they entertain Moorhead at 5 p.m. "We started out slowly but we played much better in the second half," said BHS coach Kelly Schoonover. "We played with Brainerd on even terms in the second half, especially defensively.
The Bemidji football team rolled to its third victory in as many starts Friday as the Lumberjacks ran over St. Cloud Apollo 28-7 in St. Cloud. BHS, which is 3-0 for the first time since 2001, will shoot for its fourth victory next Friday when it hosts Brainerd in the annual Homecoming contest. Turnovers stymied Bemidji during Friday's first half but the Lumberjacks played near-perfect football in the final 24 minutes and were never threatened. "It was a similar game to last week," said BHS coach Troy Hendricks.
Following an 0-2 start Bemidji boys soccer coach Rick Toward challenged his players to become leaders on and off the field. And the players responded. "We played very solid soccer," Toward said after the Lumberjacks blanked Crookston 5-0 Thursday in Bemidji. "We found the open space and controlled play." Thursday's victory extended Bemidji's unbeaten streak to seven games and upped the record to 6-2-1.
The boys soccer team will share today's home spotlight with the volleyball squad while the cross country, girls soccer and tennis teams are on the road. The Lumberjacks soccer team will entertain Crookston at 5 p.m.
With a pair of home victories in the books the Bemidji football team hits the road for the first time today when the Lumberjacks head to St. Cloud Apollo. BHS is 2-0 after trimming Moorhead 28-21 and thumping Fergus Falls. Apollo will bring a 1-1 record into the game, opening with a 13-6 victory over Fergus Falls but dropping a 27-7 decision last week to Little Falls. "Being on the road will be new for the kids," said Jacks coach Troy Hendricks. "The problem with being on the road is we have to handle a 2.5-hour bus ride but we'll keep our focus on what we need to do.
An extended break did not adversely affect the Bemidji girls tennis team Tuesday as the Lumberjacks posted a 6-1 win over East Grand Forks and a 7-0 victory over Detroit Lakes in Detroit Lakes. "All things considered, we played pretty well," said BHS coach Mark Fodness.
Kayla Hirt's long-range plans include playing college basketball at the University of Minnesota beginning next year. In order to do that, however, she was forced to make a difficult decision this fall. Hirt will have reconstructive surgery on her left knee Sept. 23 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo. The surgery is designed to repair the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) she tore during an AAU basketball game in Georgia during the late summer. By having surgery now Hirt believes she will be ready to join the Gophers next fall.