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GIRLS SOCCER: Cloquet/Carlton counters for big swing, 3-0 win over Bemidji

BHS found an extra gear in the second half -- seemingly spurred on by the Paquette opportunity. Sage Zetah-Cornelius commanded the backline with authority, while Emma Wright and Marah Bitter also opened up offensive chances, but it wasn’t meant to be in the ultimate three-goal defeat.

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Bemidji senior Sage Zetah-Cornelius (22) goes for the ball in the first half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- A counter can be catastrophic, and momentum oh so fickle.

It was a lesson learned the hard way for the Bemidji High School girls soccer team on Thursday night, one that forced BHS into a 3-0 loss against Cloquet/Carlton at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Down 2-0 in the 55th minute, Bemidji came within inches of swinging the fortunes in their favor. Lily Paquette challenged a host of retreating defenders, blocked a clearance kick and earned herself an excellent look on net, but her hopeful shot nailed the crossbar and ricocheted away.

Less than a minute later, Cloquet/Carlton (5-1) raced down to the other end of the field and bagged a back-breaking goal that veered the score to 3-0 instead.

“That would have been a big swing,” BHS head coach Logan Larsen said. “But 3-0, that mountain seems really big.”

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Bemidji senior Morgan Myers (0) defends the net during the second half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The fatal shift also undermined a solid performance from Bemidji keeper Morgan Myers, who dove for a number of highlight-reel saves and came up with multiple big-time stops.

“She made some nice saves,” Larsen said. “She hasn’t gotten as much time as (fellow goalkeeper Kiera Nelson), so she hasn’t had as much experience in a high-pressure game like this. But she came out ready. They put a lot of pressure on our goal, and she came up big several times, so I was happy with what she did tonight.”

Although Myers produced some terrific denials, she’s still human. Cloquet/Carlton opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Alexa Snesrud buried a close-range shot inside of a crowded box.

Then, with 12 seconds until halftime, Sarah Turner doubled the difference by sneaking through the defense and attacking Myers. Myers made the initial save, but the rebound boomeranged back for Turner to bury into the back of the net.

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Bemidji senior Emma Wright (12) controls the ball in the second half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“We’ve already had three games that way this season,” Larsen said. “We had Sartell finish with seconds to go. We tied it up against EGF with seconds to go. … Every second matters, every play matters. It’s a varsity matchup. It’s something to learn from, and hopefully we learn sooner than later.”

Paquette nearly halved the deficit in the second half. Emma Wright led her with a through ball past the backline, and after a battle for possession, Paquette rocketed a screamer that gave the keeper no chance.

But when it struck the woodwork and skipped away, Paquette was left in disbelief.

Cloquet/Carlton took advantage of the decisive bounce, as Macie Majerle struck a minute later. Myers made a preliminary save, but the ball caromed to Majerle for an easy tap-in and a 3-0 advantage.

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Bemidji sophomore Kate Corradi (7) controls the ball in the first half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Larsen dissected the difference of anticipating a play versus reacting to it, with Bemidji falling victim to the latter for much of the night.

“On Tuesday night (against East Grand Forks), we saw a lot better anticipation,” Larsen said. “I think maybe fatigue plays a factor. That was a hard-fought 90 minutes, not to make excuses. Overall, anticipation (is important) not only in terms of defense but also offense.”

BHS found an extra gear in the second half -- seemingly spurred on by the Paquette opportunity. Sage Zetah-Cornelius commanded the backline with authority, while Wright and Marah Bitter also opened up offensive chances, but it wasn’t meant to be in the ultimate three-goal defeat.

Myers finished with six saves for Bemidji, while Katelyn Olson ended with two for Cloquet/Carlton.

BHS, now 1-1-2 on the year, will next travel to Moorhead for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

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Bemidji senior Marah Bitter (20) controls the ball during the first half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Cloquet/Carlton 3, Bemidji 0

CC 2 1 -- 3

BHS 0 0 -- 0

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First half -- 1, CC GOAL, Snesrud (Issendorf), 11’; 2, CC GOAL, Turner (Mac. Smith), 40’.

Second half -- 3, CC GOAL, Majerle (unassisted), 56’.

Saves -- Myers (BHS) 6; Olson (CC) 2.

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Bemidji senior Bella Webb (10) controls the ball in the first half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji junior Makayla Meza (18) fights for the ball in the first half against Cloquet/Carlton on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
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.
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