ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

GIRLS SOCCER: Bemidji scores 8-0 win in the kind of game ‘players remember’

Bieber, a senior defender, often patrols the BHS backline. But when she scored -- not once, but twice -- for her first-ever varsity goals, her offensive heroics were a worthy cause for jubilation.

100122.S.BP.BHSGSOC Gracee Bieber.jpg
Bemidji senior Gracee Bieber (9) controls the ball in the first half against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Bemidji Middle School.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
We are part of The Trust Project.

BEMIDJI -- At their best, there’s nothing quite as pure as high school sports.

And on Tuesday, Gracee Bieber submitted Exhibit A on behalf of the Bemidji High School girls soccer team.

“This is what players remember,” head coach Logan Larsen said. “They remember the connections they had with their teammates. They won’t remember that one thing the coach said… but I think they will remember the people they were with. Games like this can create all those memories.”

Bieber, a senior defender, often patrols the BHS backline. But when she scored -- not once, but twice -- for her first-ever varsity goals, her offensive heroics were a worthy cause for jubilation during an 8-0 win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy at Bemidji Middle School.

“It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it,” Bieber said of scoring. “I’ve tried for it, and I could never score because I’m on defense. I’m not used to being up there and shooting the ball.”

ADVERTISEMENT

100122.S.BP.BHSGSOC Hannah Voge.jpg
Bemidji junior Hannah Voge (8) kicks the ball to score in the second half against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Bemidji Middle School.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

She was one of three players to earn a brace in the game. So too did Hannah Voge and Marah Bitter, while Emma Wright and Lily Paquette also added one goal apiece.

But for Bieber, the feeling is totally fresh. The second-year varsity player has carved out a significant role, but it’s a defensive-minded one that can unintentionally slip into the shadows. But on a day like Tuesday, there was plenty of glory to go around.

It came from Bieber, who scored in the 11th minute and then again in the 64th. It came from Kiera Hagman-Nyagaka, a sophomore midfielder who made her varsity debut. It even came in the form of Morgan Myers, the keeper who ran upfield to try a penalty kick late in the game, because why not?

And that’s precisely the point of high school athletics. Over time, most Lumberjacks will forget the final score of Tuesday’s game. But all those moments embedded throughout will be hard to ever forget.

“You’ll remember this special game where you score a goal,” Bieber said. “If you ever see your teammates in the future, you can remember the time you had on the field together and just cherish it.”

100122.S.BP.BHSGSOC Zoe Fayette.jpg
Bemidji junior Zoe Fayette (5) passes the ball in the first half against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Bemidji Middle School.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Not to be outdone by the avalanche of goals, the Bemidji defense pitched its fourth consecutive shutout. The club’s clean sheet streak now stands at 329 minutes, by far its longest of the season.

“Defense doesn’t always get a lot of praise,” Larsen said. “It’s a different kind of role, and you don’t always get recognition for every tackle and every save. But I’m extremely happy for them, and I hope they keep the streak going.”

Wright began the day’s scoring in the fourth minute, while Bieber and Voge respectively scored in the 11th and 12th for a quick 3-0 edge that held into halftime.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bitter scored in the 44th and 54th minutes -- with Voge’s 47th-minute strike sandwiched in between -- and Bieber completed her own brace 10 minutes later. Paquette ended the fireworks with her goal in the 73rd minute.

100122.S.BP.BHSGSOC Kjerstin Ekhoff.jpg
Bemidji senior Kjerstin Ekhoff (21) controls the ball in the first half against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Bemidji Middle School.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Assists flowed freely, as well. Kjerstin Ekhoff and Bitter had three apiece, while Wright and Addy McCrady also got in on the action.

“There were moments in time where we didn’t play our best game, but there were moments when we did connect really well,” Larsen said. “When we were on our game, it looked pretty.”

Kiera Nelson started in net for BHS and recorded two saves. Myers came on in the second half and stopped three shots.

The Jacks (6-4-1) return to action at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, to face Brainerd in the opening game of a weekend tournament in Brainerd.

Bemidji 8, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 0

HLA 0 0 -- 0

BHS 3 5 -- 8

ADVERTISEMENT

First half -- 1, BHS GOAL, Wright (Ekhoff), 4’; 2, BHS GOAL, Bieber (Ma. Bitter), 11’; 3, BHS GOAL, Voge (Ma. Bitter), 12’.

Second half -- 4, BHS GOAL, Ma. Bitter (Ekhoff), 44’; 5, BHS GOAL, Voge (Wright), 47’; 6, BHS GOAL, Ma. Bitter (Ekhoff), 54’; 7, BHS GOAL, Bieber (McCrady), 64’; 8, BHS GOAL, Paquette (Ma. Bitter), 73’.

Saves -- Nelson (BHS) 2; Myers (BHS) 3; Rodzwill (HLA) 17.

100122.S.BP.BHSGSOC Marah Bitter.jpg
Bemidji senior Marah Bitter (20) moves toward the net to score in the second half against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Bemidji Middle School.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
100122.S.BP.BHSGSOC Kate Halden.jpg
Bemidji junior Kate Halden (13) moves the ball in the first half against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Bemidji Middle School.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
What To Read Next
Bemidji’s best event was the 400-yard free relay. Moses Son, Walker Erickson, Tanner Johnson and Adam Allery took first, and Brayden Anderson, Kyle Yoder, Matthew Winkle and Will Termont took second.
Isaac Severts laid in the game-winning bucket with 1.6 seconds left to lift Bemidji over West Fargo on Thursday night. The Lumberjacks erased a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes.
Facing Roseau in a key Section 8AA matchup, the Lumberjacks fell behind almost immediately. That set the tone for a game of quick scores, which the Rams excelled at in a 6-2 victory.
At its board of directors meeting Thursday, the MSHSL approved a switch in the number of weight classes in wrestling and voted on a proposal to seed all eight teams in football state tournaments.