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GIRLS SOCCER: Invisible no more: Morin thriving in new role

BEMIDJI -- Although the Bemidji High School girls soccer team was off to a dominant 3-0 start this year, outscoring opponents 18-1, Isabelle Morin's name was absent from the scoresheet.

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Isabelle Morin has adjusted and thrived in her new role on the Bemidji High School girls soccer team, scoring a team-high 14 goals in her last seven games. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Although the Bemidji High School girls soccer team was off to a dominant 3-0 start this year, outscoring opponents 18-1, Isabelle Morin’s name was absent from the scoresheet.

That’s not the case anymore.

An unfamiliar position took some getting used to for Morin, but ever since settling down in her new forward role, the senior striker has kicked off a memorable run for the Lumberjacks.

“In the beginning of the season, it was a whole new position to me. I hadn’t played forward before this year,” Morin said. “It was just getting in the mindset. The first few games, it was not there.”

Despite the slow individual start, Morin has racked up 14 goals in the seven games since -- scoring in every match -- for a run that’s included a string of five straight multi-goal efforts and a pair of hat tricks.

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“What I said about Izzy (her freshman year) is that we can’t have a weak spot with her because she could play anything,” BHS head coach Logan Larsen said. “It’s new to her, but whatever she does, (she gives) a lot of effort. She’s very adaptable.”

For Morin, who played center-mid and defense last year, the transition has paid dividends. But a lot of behind-the-scenes work went into it.

Between studying books, watching game film and training with Bemidji State forward Dani Nelson over the summer, Morin has made quick work at mastering the position.

“It’s so different. There’s so much new information to learn,” she said. “It was a whole new perspective of the field… Instead of being defensive-minded, you have to run for plays you don’t think you’re gonna get the ball for.”

Consistent hustle and offensive optimism has helped Morin to a team-high 14 goals in her last seven games. And while scoring opportunities have been sparked by teammates all over the field, no connection has been more frequent -- nor more lethal -- than Morin’s with Kelly Christopher.

“It’s really helpful because our asset is our speed. And that’s how we play, a fast attack,” said Morin, who has been the recipient of five Christopher assists this season. “So it’s really beneficial when she has the ball up the line, she’s sprinting, working insanely hard and then she makes a beautiful pass in for me.”

“This senior year is gonna be huge for logging a lot of goals, getting a lot of assists,” Larsen added. Both (Annah Schussman) and Kelly have that part of them that’s pretty unselfish. They’re pretty good at creating goals for Izzy, too. I just like to see that they have a lot of confidence, not only in themselves, but also in each other.”

Morin may be in an unfamiliar place on the pitch, but she’s made herself at home. And it’s no surprise to Larsen that she’s become a constant threat on the Bemidji attack.

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“I always expect a lot,” he said. “I’ve believed in Izzy for quite a while.”

Now that Morin has reached the back end of her senior season, she’s looking to what lies ahead for her 7-3 Lumberjacks. Bemidji travels to Moorhead for a 7 p.m. match Thursday, looking to snap its two-game skid and return to form for the postseason, where BHS is vying for one of the top seeds in the 8A tournament.

“The goal from the beginning of the season has always been winning sections,” Morin said. “I haven’t ever in my four years here, so that’s been the main goal. But at the end of the day, it’s the memories you make with the team. It’s your last year. You want to make it last, you want to make the memories.”

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Bemidji High School senior Isabelle Morin (13) fights to keep possession in Saturday's game against Brainerd at Bemidji Middle School. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

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