GIRLS SOCCER: Spuds continue CLC dominance, top BHS 4-0
MOORHEAD -- Moorhead continued its blitzing dominance of the Central Lakes Conference on Monday, and the Bemidji High School girls soccer team became the latest victim.
The Spuds cruised to a 4-0 home win, improving to 6-0 on the year with an incredible 57-0 scoring advantage.
The Lumberjacks, though, still played them tighter than any other team so far this season. Though Moorhead entered with three wins by double-digits and all five by at least half a dozen, BHS (3-1-1) kept things tighter behind its late-game defense.
“I was happy with the process most of the game,” Bemidji head coach Logan Larsen said. “There are obviously things we have to adapt to (depending on) what we’re facing, and we have to finish the opportunities we made.”
Emma Neubeck highlighted the stronger second half for the Lumberjack back line, as she and BHS held the Spuds to just one shot on goal after halftime.
“Our defenders adjusted well,” Larsen said. “Our center defenders did a better job of adding depth. When they tried to play through balls, we did a better job of defending those. I thought Emma Neubeck had a great game. Anna Renn, for being new to the outside position, I thought she did really well.”
But Moorhead struck early and often to begin the day.
The opening goal came just 52 seconds into the game, when Maria Zanotti snuck a ball inside the post on the Spuds’ first scoring opportunity. BHS played behind for the remainder of the day, which Olivia Watson ensured with a flurry of her own goals.
First came a breakaway in the 23rd minute after Ally Peters split a ball through for her. Watson finished for a 2-0 edge, and she piled on with a 33rd-minute goal for the 3-0 advantage.
And, just 14 minutes after her first goal, Watson completed the hat trick by chasing down a Kadyn Sharpe pass lobbed over the top, holding off the defender and netting the 4-0 difference.
“Certainly their technical ability to dribble and finish was solid,” Larsen said of Zanotti and Watson. “But getting the balls to those players, I think we could have done a better job of shutting that distribution down. If we would have recognized that style a little bit better, I think we could have shut down the passing lanes.”
While Moorhead used its speed for a potent straightforward attack, Bemidji deferred to controlling possession to generate its chances. The most threatening opportunity came midway through the first half, when Peyton Oelrich fired a laser on net off a free kick from about 25 yards away.
Like all other eight shots she faced, though, Spuds keeper Emily Soukup was in position for the save. Jody Pemberton made four stops for the Lumberjacks during a busy first half, while Kiera Nelson saved the only shot on goal against her throughout the second half.
“We sent the ball right across the face of the net. We just have to have a body there,” Larsen said. “We have to finish our runs offensively. And defensively, we just have to recognize the attack that we’re presented with because there’s a very specific response to that. Tonight it just took us a little too long to adapt.”
BHS will next return home for a 7 p.m. match against Alexandria on Thursday, Sept. 17, at Chet Anderson Stadium. Their meeting will be the first since Bemidji defeated the Cardinals in penalty kicks in last year’s Section 8A quarterfinals.
Moorhead 4, Bemidji 0
BHS 0 0 -- 0
MHD 4 0 -- 0
First half -- 1, MHD, Zanotti (Tweeten) 1’; 2, MHD, Watson (Peters) 23’; 3, MHD, Watson (Sharpe) 33’; 4, MHD, Watson (Sharpe) 37’.
Second half -- No scoring.
Saves -- Pemberton (BHS) 4; Nelson (BHS) 1; Soukup (MHD) 9.