BEMIDJI -- Out of the gate in the first set, it looked like the Bemidji High School volleyball team would cruise to an easy sweep against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Tuesday night. The Jacks took the first set handily, 25-13, but the Rebels came back hard the rest of the way to take the next three sets 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 and the match.
“We have this problem where, come the second set, we hit a wall,” BHS head coach Alicia Kriens said. “It’s a mental thing where we get (ahead) and we get complacent and we get comfortable, and we think that they’re just going to roll over for us, and they’re not. We need to somehow mentally move past that.”
The Lumberjacks (2-4) fell behind 2-1 in the first set before a seven-point run gave them an 8-2 lead, capped by a Taylor Wade kill, and they never gave it up.
Bemidji stretched the lead to 18-9, which was the widest margin of the set until five straight BHS points ended it at 25-13.
“We just started playing relaxed and everybody did their job,” Kriens said. “Everybody was talking and everybody was doing the little things. And we talk about that – little things make the big difference – and it worked for us in the first set.”
The Jacks showed glimpses of solid play throughout the next three sets, but DGF always had an answer.
After falling behind 14-8 in the second set, Bemidji worked their way back to a 16-16 tie with an 8-2 run, finished off by two Emily Wade kills, a Taylor Wade kill and a Kenzie Christianson block, one of six she would have on the night.
The set was back and forth from there. An Emily Wade kill and an Emma Muller ace kept the Jacks alive through two set points, but the Rebels scored the next two for the 26-24 win.
The teams traded points to start set three with neither team able to get more than a two-point lead until DGF scored four straight for an 11-7 lead.
The Lumberjacks finally got back within a point at 19-18 with a Rumer Flatness kill, a Christianson block and a Rebels error, but DGF finished the set off with a 6-4 run for the 25-22 win.
Along with the attack of hitters Joeli Kelso and Maria Watt, Kriens said the Rebels were stingy on defense.
“Defensively, they’re a great team. They always are very, very scrappy,” she said. “I think the other thing is we didn’t do a very good job of spreading our hitters this time, so our outsides got stuck with two blockers, we were getting blocked a lot and we weren’t getting the opportunity to set up a good offense where we’re using more than one.”
The Lumberjacks led through most of the first half of set four, but after their 12-10 lead, the Rebels started scoring points in bunches and turned it into a 21-16 lead of their own.
Bemidji forced two DGF errors to cut it to 23-20, but the Rebels came back with the next two points, including a Mariah Iwen ace to end it.
“I think today was a step backwards,” Kriens said. “Talking with the girls at the end, I think it hit them really hard. Out of all the losses, it looked like this was the one, and I’m hoping that this is a turning point, that they get really sick of it and are ready to fight for it.”
For the match, Taylor Wade led the Bemidji offense with 10 kills, followed by Emily Wade’s eight and Flatness’ seven.
Muller picked up 15 digs, while Jenna Anderson had 10 and Mikerra Mathews nine. Mathews also had 21 assists, while Emily Wade chipped in 10.
Bemidji has a full week off to regroup from the loss before their 7:15 p.m. game against Roseau on Tuesday, Sept 18, back at BHS.