GIRLS SOCCER: Wright nets hat trick, Jacks endure bizarre 3-1 win
BEMIDJI -- Emma Wright netted her first varsity hat trick for the Bemidji girls soccer team in a bizarre 3-1 victory over Fergus Falls on Thursday night at Chet Anderson Stadium.
The Lumberjacks outshot the Otters 38-3, including 22-3 in shots on goal, but goalkeeper Svea Smestad was able to limit the damage by piling up 19 saves for the visitors, whose lone goal came while down a player.
“We did well in terms of the process leading up to the goal, but we just failed to capitalize on the opportunities we created,” BHS head coach Logan Larsen said. “I think that’s more a matter of composure than ability.”
Wright opened the scoring with a 13th-minute goal by lacing a shot between the legs of Smestad.
In the 21st minute, Talia Nelson received a red card for a foul on Peyton Oelrich. Nelson pulled the back of Oelrich’s jersey after she had advanced past the Otters’ back line, denying her a goalscoring opportunity.
Fergus head coach Ben Jurgens subsequently received a yellow card for arguing with the center official.
Despite going down to 10 players after the dismissal, Ellie Anderson scored on a free kick in the 32nd minute for an unlikely equalizer.
The game was still tied in the 50th minute when Liberty Dickerson’s cross into the 18-yard box ended up on the foot of Wright. Smestad made the initial save, but she couldn’t keep the ball from crossing the goal line. After some discussion, Bemidji was awarded the 2-1 lead.
The Lumberjacks fought to extend the lead but were denied by a combination of Smestad and shots off the woodwork.
Smestad and Sophie Morin collided on a sliding save in the 67th minute that left both players hurt. Jurgens said something to the center official as he was walking off the field, and was ejected with his second yellow card.
Dickerson had a chance to give BHS some breathing room on an attempted penalty kick with eight minutes to go, but she sent it wide left.
A moment later, Wright sealed her hat trick with two minutes remaining to finally let the Jacks breath a sigh of relief with a two-goal lead.
“She battles until she gets the outcome she wants,” Larsen said. “She got goals by fighting her way through really. It wasn’t these long bombs, but she battled for the chances she had and she made the most of three of them.”
Kiera Nelson started in goal for the Jacks and made two saves in the first half. Jody Pemberton entered for the second half and did not record a save.
Bemidji improved to 4-2-2 with the win, while Fergus Falls dropped to 3-4-1.
BHS will travel to Sartell-St. Stephen for its next match at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Bemidji 3, Fergus Falls 1
FF 1 0 -- 1
BHS 1 2 -- 3
First half -- 1, BHS GOAL, Wright (Oelrich), 13’; 2, FF GOAL, Anderson, 32’.
Second half -- 3, BHS GOAL, Wright (Dickerson), 50’; 4, BHS GOAL, Wright (Berg), 78’.
Saves -- Nelson (BHS) 2; Pemberton (BHS) 0; Smestad (FF) 19.