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GIRLS SOCCER: BHS opens sections with 10-0 win

Bemidji High School senior Harper Toward (8) chases down the ball in Thursday’s game against Crookston at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
Bemidji High School junior Susan Ritter (12) races toward the ball in Thursday’s game against Crookston at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
Bemidji High School senior Kinley Prestegard (15) battles with Crookston’s Aleah Bienek (8) for the ball on Thursday at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- On the heels of a disappointing regular season finale against Grand Rapids on Monday, Oct. 8, the Bemidji High School girls soccer team returned with a bang on Thursday with a 10-0 victory over Crookston to open the Section 8A playoffs.

“It feels great,” BHS head coach Logan Larsen said of the offensive output. “I think the best thing is the girls were just a team tonight and cheering each other on.”

The difference between the Grand Rapids game and the Crookston game, according to Larsen, was part mental and part strategic.

“On the mental side, it was just kind of passion in the game,” he said. “So wanting to be a playmaker, wanting to be a person who makes a difference and gets everyone fired up. In terms of the actual game, just being willing to attack (one versus one) in the final third to get space to shoot.”

Outshooting the Pirates 31-0, the Lumberjacks (11-4-2) had 11 players on the scoresheet with at least one point on the night, led by junior Alexis Paquette, who had two goals and two assists.

Hailey Nelson put up a goal and two assists, while Lindsey Hildenbrand and Halle Solien had two goals apiece and Katie Alto chipped in two assists.

Larsen said he was pleased to see the team spread the scoring chances around the roster.

“They showed they have a lot of ability despite not seeing as much time,” he said. “We have a very deep bench.

“I thought in the middle, Becky (Ritter) had a great game. Up top, Lexi (Paquette) had a couple very nice finishes, and just adding Peyton (Oelrich) to the roster within the last couple days, I thought she did very really out there today.”

Hildenbrand scored her two goals in the first half, shooting the first one off the left post and tapping the second one in off a rebound that Sam Hansen sent in off the Crookston keeper’s face.

Susan Ritter scored the Jacks’ second goal in the 15th minute from Elizabeth Corradi, while Solien buried the fourth in the 31st from Paquette.

Six minutes into the second half, Emma Dean fed Harper Toward for a 5-0 lead, followed by a Paquette free kick goal from just outside the 18-yard box six minutes later.

Paquette then assisted a Nelson goal before the two switched roles for another tally and an eight-goal lead.

Junior Jenna Jones made it 9-0 with her first varsity goal with less than two minutes to go – also assisted by Nelson – and Solien scored her second of the night in the final minute to wrap up the 10-0 win.

The top-seeded Lumberjacks are next set to host No. 5 Fergus Falls, which defeated No. 4 Alexandria in a shootout Thursday night. The Jacks and Otters will play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Chet Anderson Stadium.

“We have, across the whole field, strong ability to defend, so (we’re working on) just putting the ball in the back of the net,” said Larsen.

Bemidji 10, Crookston 0

BHS 4 6 -- 10

CRO 0 0 -- 0

First Half -- 1, BEM GOAL, Hildenbrand (Alto) 6’; 2, BEM GOAL, S. Ritter (Corradi) 15’; 3, BEM GOAL, Hildenbrand (Hansen) 19’; 4, BEM GOAL, Solien (Paquette) 31’.

Second Half -- 5, BEM GOAL, Toward (Dean) 46’; 6, BEM GOAL, Paquette (Free Kick) 52’; 7, BEM GOAL, Nelson (Paquette) 67’; 8, BEM GOAL, Paquette (Nelson) 73’; 9, BEM GOAL, Jones (Nelson) 79’; 10, BEM GOAL, Solien (Alto) 80’.